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Fort Hood hospital competes with bigger cities for labor


Construction on Fort Hood's new hospital is losing skilled labor to bigger cities.

The 572 million dollar replacement hospital project has been under construction on post since June of 2011.

They still plan to open their doors to patients in the summer of 2015.

But even though they are on track, contractors say they could use more help.

Just about everything is impressive about the project for Butch Lollar, a man who has been in the construction business for over 40 years.

"We've got five tire cranes rolling around, three or four cranes running around everything is just massive," said Butch Lollar, General Superintendent for Balfour Beatty-McCarthy.

"Massive" is an appropriate word for a 1 million square foot building. 

Lollar's job is to manage nearly 1500 workers a day for the project.

And although that is a lot, contractors say they could use more help.

"You're subject to the market and what's being in demand on the market.  Austin is growing big, Dallas is growing big, Waco, like I said has a huge stadium moving on, so skilled labor is a challenge in this area," said Richard Alexander, construction manager and project engineer.

"Right now I think we are doing fine," he said. 

Another challenge contractors and engineers have faced is the weather.

"We lost over 30 days, that's beyond what's expected.  So there are certain days that are expected and that everyone should lost to usual weather patterns but this is above and beyond that," said Mark McElroy, project executive for Balfour Beatty-McCarthy.

They are dedicating 66,000 square feet to behavioral health services.

"We see injuries with the soldiers just as much up here as we do with the body so behavioral health is the big component and most of the third floor"    

And workers are honored to serve those who serve our country.

"Our biggest reward is to step back knowing its finished, knowing we built something for the troops to take care of them, even the ones that are out of the service," said Lollar. 

"I mean that's a tremendous blessing for us to be able to help out troops."

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