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Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Supporting critical care at the largest military medical center in the U.S.




Bethesda, Maryland




The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is the U.S. military's premier referral center providing casualty and beneficiary care, postgraduate education, training, and critical medical research.

A project under the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission, Walter Reed Army Medical Center was relocated to the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) campus.

The design-build team delivered 1,030,000 square feet of new construction and performed approximately 500,000 square feet of renovations.

Southland provided the HVAC and plumbing design for the facility, which provides a full range of intensive and complex specialty and subspecialty medical services, including specialized facilities for the most serious injuries.

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Our Approach

Challenged with unique room requirements, our team proposed several engineering innovations, which include:

  •  100 percent outside air HVAC system
    Use of the 100 percent outside air systemexceeded owner and federally-mandated requirements.The risk of transmitting diseases through HVAC systems is of vital concern within healthcare facilities. To avoid this, the outside air systems enhance indoor air quality by eliminating potentially infectious bacteria being recirculated throughout the building.

  • Large enthalpy heat recovery wheels
    The design utilizes large enthalpy heat recovery wheels to recover energy from the building's exhaust air before it is directed outside. We were able to prove significant 25-year savings with the 100 percent outside air system through a lifecycle cost analysis.

  • Active desiccant-based air handling systems
    Specialty operating rooms have unique loads and room design conditions. To comply with owner and user requirements, Southland designed active desiccant-based air handling systems to serve the facility's 20 operating rooms. The systems remove moisture to reduce humidity, improve air quality, reduce the opportunity for biological contamination in the distribution ductwork, and allow for low room design temperatures.

In addition to consolidating and expanding services at WRNMMC, Southland designed a state-of-the-art in vitro fertilization (IVF) laboratory. Through collaboration with the laboratory's staff, the design team selected specialized carbon filters in order to minimize volatile organic compounds in the air stream, as well as high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filters to maintain a high level of indoor air quality and improve the IVF facility's success rate.


The design-build team delivered the new inpatient and outpatient hospital construction within an unprecedented 30-month timeframe.


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