A groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday afternoon at southern Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood for a new army community hospital that will replace the aging one there.

This is an artist’s projection of the new 235,000 square foot Fort Leonard Wood hospital in southern Missouri. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 22, 2020. The project is expected to be done in 2024 (photo courtesy of Fort Leonard Wood’s public affairs office)

U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (R) and Josh Hawley (R) helped to secure about $50 million in funding for the new hospital. Hawley also helped secure $5.9 million to modernize U.S. Air Force aircraft stationed at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base at northwest Missouri’s St. Joseph.

“These are big wins for the state of Missouri, big wins for Rosecrans, big wins for Leonard Wood, there’s wins for Whiteman (Air Force Base in Knob Noster) in there (a defense appropriations bill) and all of our military installations and military service members across the state,” Hawley says.

Construction of the new 235,000 square foot Fort Leonard Wood hospital is expected to be done in the fall of 2024, and the existing hospital will be demolished at that time.

The fort will build a 193,000 square-foot clinic, along with a five-bay ambulance garage, a helipad, a central utility plant, and emergency back-up generators.

The $295 million design-build contract has been awarded to Kansas City-based JE Dunn Construction.

Meantime, Senators Hawley and Blunt have also secured several million dollars in federal funding to support traumatic brain injury research at Fort Leonard Wood. Hawley, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, says that’s crucial.

“The medical facility at Fort Leonard Wood is critical because it serves not only the base but the surrounding community,” says Hawley. “There are doing tremendous work there, a new facility, it’s important that that get fully operational.”

Senator Blunt, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, released a statement via video, congratulating Fort Leonard Wood.

“We’re celebrating the care at the General Fort Leonard Wood Army Hospital, understanding it’s a community hospital as well. It’s among the best in the country. Despite the challenges of a totally outdated structure, the hospital has been ranked #1 in outpatient efficiency by the U.S. Army Medical Command,” Blunt says, in the video.

U.S. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark Esper traveled to Fort Leonard Wood on Thursday, where he met with leaders there and also conducted a re-enlistment ceremony where 53 soldiers recommitted their obligation to defend the U.S. Constitution.

Fort Leonard Wood trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R), who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The interview was recorded on June 17, 2020:

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