Forrest H. Bell, 61, a project director in the Veterans Administration's office of construction, died of cardiac arrest Friday at George Washington University Medical Center.

As one of four regional project directors for the office of construction, he was in charge of design and construction of VA facilities in the Southern Area, including major hospital projects in Florida, Texas and Georgia.

Mr. Bell joined the VA in 1955 and was a project supervisor before becoming a project director in 1976. Before that, he was an engineer with the old Coast and Geodietic Service.

He served in the Philippines during World War II and was a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve's Engineer Corps before his military retirement last year.

Mr. Bell was born in Gary, Ind.He attended the University of Maryland prior to World War II and earned a bachelor's degree in cartography from George Washington University in 1970. He lived in Vienna, Va.

Survivors include his wife, Alice L., of Vienna; two daughters, Sandra Florance of Arlington, and Stephanie O'Brien of Herndon, and his mother, Rose Merriam Bell of Manassas.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Disabled American Veterans.