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New VA clinic contracted out to local company

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

Only four months after the Department of Veterans Affairs opened bids on a new clinic in Cape Coral, the $53.1 million construction project was awarded to Kraft Construction Company Inc. from Naples.
The 224,000-square-foot clinic will be constructed on a 30-acre parcel of land on the northwest corner of Diplomat Parkway and Corbett Road.
The architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum Inc. completed the facility’s design in May, and Kraft Construction has already begun the 730-day project.
Kraft was awarded project on Sept. 25, but the department waited until this week to make a public announcement.
Crews from Kraft Construction have started to clear the parcel of land, said Shilpa Patel-Teague, spokesperson for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, administrator of the current Fort Myers Veterans Clinic and future Cape facility.
“It is very heavily wooded right now,” she said. “They have to clear that land before we can have a groundbreaking ceremony.”
Groundbreaking on the parcel is planned for January, and the facility should be completed by November 2011.
“I’m thrilled that the construction contract for the new VA clinic has been awarded, and just in time for Veteran’s Day, a fitting way to honor those who have sacrificed our country,” U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, said in a prepared statement to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mack added that he is pleased the contract was awarded to a local company.
“I’m pleased that the contract was awarded to a local contractor and I’m confident that in no time we’ll have a new, state-of-the-art facility ready to serve Southwest Florida’s veterans,” he said.
Southwest Florida is home to 202,000 veterans who visit the Fort Myers Veterans Clinic or have to drive to Bay Pines in St. Petersburg for more advanced procedures.
The Cape clinic should offer many procedures never before available in Lee County, ending the need for some veterans to commute for services.
Approximately three times the size of the Fort Myers facility, officials described the Cape facility as a “comprehensive, multidisciplinary specialty care and outpatient clinic.”
There were 20 bidders vying for the chance to construct the Lee County VA Outpatient Clinic before it was awarded to Kraft Construction.
Kraft has been a local construction company in Southwest Florida for more than 40 years.
The company was recently awarded other major projects, including the 19-acre solar farm at Florida Gulf Coast University and construction manager of the 10,000-seat Red Sox spring training facility.
“We are really pleased that we were awarded the project and have the opportunity to do a VA clinic in Cape Coral. It will be a great addition to the community and hopefully spur some other development around it, which will be good for jobs and the community,” said Bob Koenig, senior vice president and area manager for Kraft Construction.
Koenig said Kraft has done other medical work in the past but never for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He does not foresee any challenges with the project.
He added that most of the subcontractors for the project are being hired locally, which should boost the local economy.
“It’s a huge plus for the construction industry,” Koenig said.
According to the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, the new clinic will offer audiology, cardiology with cardiac noninvasive diagnostic services, urology, GI, orthopedics, ophthalmology, dermatology, minor surgery and advanced imaging, including CT, MRI, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, mammography and vascular Doppler ultrasound.