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May 18, 2012

LaBar's Beat

New VA Hospital to Open Soon

By Ron LaBar

The new Veterans Administration Hospital (officially the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System) is nearing completion at its new location, 6900 North Pecos Road, North Las Vegas.

The old VA hospital, located at Vegas Drive and Martin Luther King was shut down in July 2003.  The entire program was relocated to sixteen “sites of care” throughout the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area.  For the past nine years, veterans have had to commute between various offices and clinics to receive the care they are entitled to.  To their credit, the VA has tried to ease the pain somewhat by offering shuttle services to some locations.

Construction on the new hospital began in late 2006, and has inched along for the past six years.  On April 2, 2012, ownership of the facility was officially transferred from the VA Office of Construction and Facilities Management to the Medical Center.

Estimated construction costs for the new facility are $600.4 million.  Not bad in a time when politicians toss around billions as if it were pocket change.

I asked David Martinez, the Public Affairs Officer for the Southern Nevada VA, about how many jobs would be created at the new facility.  I saw an estimate of 2,000 new jobs created.  Does this number include all of the employees working at the sixteen care sites located throughout the Valley?  David’s answer made sense.  There were approximately 500 employees at the old Vegas Drive location.  When all the positions are filled there will be about 2,000 employees at the new facility, an increase of 1,500 new employees — 1,500 new jobs created.

Out of curiosity, I asked David about where all the new people were going to reside.  The reason I asked was because on a recent visit to Logandale, in the Moapa Valley, a realtor told me that many of the new employees at the VA hospital were buying or renting in Logandale, Moapa, and Overton – all a sixty-plus mile commute from Las Vegas.  He wasn’t sure why.  Perhaps the lure of a rural lifestyle?

The grand opening of the new hospital will be sometime in late July or early August of 2012. A “photo day” for the media will be scheduled a couple of weeks prior to the opening.  Look for more on the new hospital in future editions of the Bullseye.

How many Veterans will the new hospital serve?  Mr. Martinez stated that the current number of “unique patients” is 45,000.  He anticipates a ten percent increase when the new facility opens.  In addition to Southern Nevada, many Veterans from adjacent parts of California, Arizona, and Utah use the VA facilities in Las Vegas.

All of us – current and future veterans – are sure to benefit from the new hospital.

Good job, VA!



About the Author

Ron LaBar
Ron LaBar
If you have an article covering Veteran issues, Airmen who are doing something special in the Las Vegas community, or other human interest stories you'd like to see about and for our Nellis Airmen, just e-mail the Bullseye@aerotechnews.com and we will hook you up with Ron and he'll contact you.


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