Construction of veterans clinic slated for summer

Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2007

ANCHORAGE - Construction on a new Veterans Affairs clinic is scheduled to begin this summer. The two-story outpatient clinic will feature about 170,000 square feet of space. Estimated cost is between $50 million to $60 million.

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The clinic will be located on land owned by Elmendorf Air Force Base. It will sit just outside the fence by the Elmendorf's hospital, near the Muldoon entrance. It will be accessible to the public, but will feature a 350-foot enclosed pedestrian walkway connecting it to the hospital. The link will have a security checkpoint.

The facility will provide full medical services, including primary care, mental health, specialty care, an ambulatory surgery suite, radiology, laboratory, dental and pharmacy. It also will have physical therapy offices, a service that the VA had contracted out in the past.

A request for proposals seeking a contractor was expected to go out this month, and should be awarded in May. Work should be completed by the fall of 2009.

The new clinic will replace the current facilities, located in the Alaska Regional campus on DeBarr Road. The operation has outgrown that 112,000-square-foot building, which was completed in 1992, said spokeswoman Marcia Hoffman-DeVoe. The local VA has already moved some administrative services out of the current location to offer more room for medical care.

The Alaska VA Healthcare System provided more than 103,000 visits to nearly 14,000 veterans last year. Of those visits, more than 86,000 were at the Anchorage clinic. The VA system also paid $43.3 million to Alaska community providers and hospitals.

An estimated 66,500 veterans lived in Alaska in 2005, Hoffman-DeVoe said. Some 25,000 are enrolled to receive medical care through the VA.

The Kenai clinic recently moved into larger facilities and the Fairbanks clinic will expand with the opening of the new Army hospital this year.

Designed by Livingston Slone, the new clinic will feature heated and covered walkways. The public face of the building forms a large solar fan-like structure that catches sunlight and warms the outdoor pedestrian areas.

The VA expects to add about 50 full-time staff to its 420 employees.

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