Walter Reed hospital could be designated a historic site
Published: January 6, 2010
Officials as still finalizing their move from the Washington, D.C. campus of Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the new joint medical campus in Bethesda, Md. The shift was mandated in the 2005 round of BRAC closings and designed to turn over the sprawling 110-acre campus to the city, for development and use.
But at least one DC group is pushing for some of the medical campus to stay untouched, because of its historic importance. Washington Business Journal reported yesterday that the DC Preservation League has petitioned the city to make the location a historic district, limiting how much the site could be developed and what could be done with the 100-year-old buildings there.
Along with famous patients like Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the hospital has tended to thousands of military wounded from World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, two wars in Iraq and the current conflict in Afghanistan. The Walter Reed name has become synonymous with military health care, both the good (the hospital boasts one of the premiere amputation wards in the world) and the bad (the 2007 scandal uncovered by the Washington Post featuring poor living conditions for patients there).
The group is also arguing the architecture of the aging buildings represent an important chapter in the city's history, and deserve special consideration as well.
No decisions have yet been made by DC officials, who will receive control of about half of the campus once the transfer is complete. Army officials say that move is still on target for 2011.
[PHOTO: DC Preservation League]