Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
The construction project to renovate the former Jonathan H. Harwood U.S. Army Reserve Center at 385 Niagara Street in Providence, R.I., officially broke ground Nov. 8, 2019.
Participating in the groundbreaking were U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse; U.S. Sen. Jack Reed; Dr. Susan MacKenzie, director of the Providence VA Medical Center, who has since retired; and Erin Clare Sears, associate director for operations, who is now acting director of the Providence VAMC.
The $12 million contract was awarded Sept. 26, 2019, to Ironclad Services of Springfield, Mass. The project involves 7,200 square feet of new construction in addition to the renovation of 22,640 square feet of existing building spaces, as well as several site improvements, including resurfacing of the
existing parking area, revised landscaping, better drainage and enhanced security.
Upon completion, scheduled for the fall of 2020, the new facility will be dedicated to the Providence VAMC Research Service, which is experiencing a rapidly growing need for more space.
Collaborating with partners such as Brown University and Lifespan on more than 250 research projects, the Research Service had a demand for nearly 60,000 additional square feet of space as of 2016. Renovations to the Harwood Center will help close a significant part of this gap.
The Army Reserve facility was named for Jonathan Hartwell Harwood Jr., a Rhode Islander who enlisted in the Army and served during World War II, attaining the rank of captain. He served with the 293rd Signal Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion.
Harwood was killed in action on June 7, 1944, on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. His awards, medals and commendations include the Silver Star, Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.