Facility scheduled to open next year
Construction is nearly complete on the Veterans Administration Clinic and the 222,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open next year.
When complete, the clinic will offer a host of treatment options for the men and women veterans of the armed forces, from outpatient surgical procedures to pharmaceuticals to dental care.
Although its called a “clinic,” the facility is just shy of a full blown hospital, lacking only a kitchen and overnight beds, according to Jeff Morrow of Kraft Construction, the project’s general contractor.
Morrow called the new facility a “surgical fortress” because of the strict safety precautions used in its construction, as mandated by the Veterans Administration.
The building could withstand a 50-foot stand-off, Morrow said, because of engineering designed to stave off explosions and gun shots, as well as a category three hurricane.
Dubbed “mission critical” by the VA, Morrow said the building is designed to survive not only attacks but loss of power and water.
“They consider it as critical as a battle in Afghanistan,” Morrow said. “The mission is to get this building up and running.”
Morrow said the project has thus far cost $55 million and said it is an outpatient surgical facility, not just a clinic.
When complete, it will offer more services than the current facility in Fort Myers, which will eventually be shut down once the new facility is fully up and running.
Members of the Council for Progress — a group of citizens and business leaders — toured the facility Friday to get a first-hand look.
Council for Progress Chairman and founder Joe Mazurkiewicz said the facility is breathtaking and was wowed during the tour.
Bob Knight, from Paul Homes, was equally impressed with the facility and thinks it will lead to an economic boom for the surrounding area, which has been recently dubbed “The Veterans Investment Zone” by the city’s economic development office.
“It’s going to generate tremendous economic activity,” Knight said.
A long-time Cape resident and fixture of the local building industry, Knight said the area could be booming in five years.
“I feel fortunate to see this happen,” Knight said. “We’re going to continue to grow.”