Veterans home architect selected
by By DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Dec 02, 2012 | 2132 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The march toward building a veterans home in Bradley County is progressing at a half-step. Though progress is slow, the latest movement forward came earlier this week when the state selected The Lewis Group Architects of Knoxville to design the Cleveland Bradley County State Veterans Home.

The state announcement coincides with the merger of Downtown Design Studio PLLC at 63 North Ocoee St. into The Lewis Group.

“We are very excited that Doug Caywood, a native of Cleveland and formerly of the Downtown Design Studio will serve as the managing principal of the Cleveland office,” said The Lewis Group CEO Jerry W. Lewis.

The 108-bed facility is planned on 27 acres at 1940 Westland Drive in south Cleveland. In March 2010, the State Veterans Home Board accepted the land donated by Steve Willams, Thomas Williams and Robert Wright.

In February, Gov. Bill Haslam included $3.1 million for first-year operating costs in the 2012-13 Budget presented to the General Assembly. At that time, the home carried an estimated cost of $20.12 million. The federal government’s 65 percent share of construction cost was $13.04 million and the 35 percent local share was $7.08 million. The local share was secured in the form of a $3 million gift from an anonymous donor, and the city of Cleveland and Bradley County have each committed $2.2 million.

“We are very excited about being awarded this very important and high profile project here in Cleveland. We have been following this project with great interest for quite a while and are just elated to be involved,” Caywood said.

The veterans home is the first project awarded the since the opening of the Cleveland office.

Bradley County Veterans Services Officer Joe Davis said the last piece of the puzzle is the Department of Veterans Affairs funding list. Davis said the annual priority list of pending VA home construction grant applications is generally released in the latter part of the year in November or December, but so far, the 2012 list has not been released.

“Awarding the design team should be proof that a home is going to be built in Bradley County,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when.”

The Lewis Group Architects is a full service design firm providing architecture, interior architecture, and interior design services in all project types with a specialization in Educational and Healthcare Projects. The firm designed Hardin Valley Academy in Knox County and Grainger (County) High School, both recognized for “Excellence in Design” by the Tennessee School Board Association.

Currently, the firm is designing a new replacement facility for Alcoa High School and a major expansion and renovation to Jefferson County High School.

The architectural firm is one of the largest health care designers in the South Central Region of the United States, as recognized by McGraw Hill. Currently, the Healthcare Studio of LGA is completing a new $72 million replacement hospital for Roane Medical Center in Harriman for Covenant Health which is expected to open in January 2013.

In addition to Jefferson County Nursing Home, the first built “Green House” project in the state of Tennessee, the firm is designing a similar concept for Overton County Nursing Home in Livingston. LGA’s University of Tennessee Student Health Center recently received LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Caywood graduated as valedictorian from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture in 1998. He began his career with a firm in Knoxville and was on the design team for such projects as the University of Tennessee Claxton Computer Science and Education Building, World's Fair Park, Pellissippi Pointe Professional Office Park, various hotels and United States Postal Service projects.

He returned home to Cleveland in 2003 and accepted an architectural position with a firm in Dalton, Ga., where he served as the designer and project manager for Davis Elementary, Dade Elementary, and Chattanooga Valley Middle School.

In 2005, he accepted a position with the Arcon Group in Cleveland and led the design team for the Lee University Leonard Center and Health Clinic and a $4 million addition to Princeton Pike Church of God in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 2007, he began Downtown Design Studio from which he provided architectural and planning services for educational, healthcare, religious, commercial and residential clients in North Georgia and East Tennessee. He is licensed in Tennessee, Georgia, and Ohio.

He joined LGA in late summer to provide services for larger projects and to expand the types of services for his local client base.

“Mine and LGA's mission and project type focus were very similarly focused on exceptional client service,” he said.

Caywood has also been recognized by USGBC as the architect for the first LEED certified home in Bradley County.

“I’m very excited about my new role at the Downtown Design Studio of The Lewis Group Architects in downtown Cleveland because Bradley County is my home, and hopefully this expansion will allow our firm and clients to grow along with our community. LGA is a great firm with tremendous resources yet they have a ‘laid back’ approach to business,” he said.

“Business and industry in Bradley County and surrounding areas are rapidly growing. LGA wants to be a good neighbor and to become even more active in the community. Our goal is to become the ‘firm of choice’ for quality and distinctive design services and grow as the region does.”