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Finally, a new VA medical center (letter)


The long delayed new VA Sierra Nevada Health Care Center will be built in the near future, with $192.4 million devoted to that purpose. Great news. Where will the new campus be built? Unknown, but I haven’t seen many 13+ acres undeveloped sites anywhere in Reno or Sparks that have not been transformed to warehouse space. We also know that as a project proposed by the federal government, it will likely not be built in record time. Five years? Ten? 

In the meantime, the VA has spread out to 5 additional locations since space is not available within the footprint of our existing campus. There is the North Campus on Selmi Drive, the East campus on Corporate Drive, the eye clinic on Kietzke and Grove, the dental clinic on South Virginia, and finally the VA Homeless Outreach clinic on Capitol Hill Avenue.

Any new campus would ensure that all these services would be available at one location. Is there an existing property that would allow all these clinics to consolidate to one location with adequate access from both highways and existing bus lines?

One such location might be the existing campus of the very underutilized and recently upgraded Saint Mary’s  Hospital Campus, currently owned and operated by Prime Healthcare Services. Between the existing available funds and the value of the property and land that can be vacated and sold, I believe it would be affordable. This paper has mentioned that the existing VA campus comprises 13+ acres in [the Wells Avenue area]. I would think that that would be quite valuable for residential property development. The other consideration would be the leases that the VA pays for these five clinics and the costs of logistics and transportation to support these 5 locations. 

Today’s story mentioned the age of the original VA hospital. What is really more important, are the people that work there and provide exceptional service and care to 40,000 veterans every year. I imagine that they could provide even better care in a larger modern facility. Our nation’s veterans deserve nothing less. 

Jim McNamara

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