Secretary Nicholson Announces Plans For New State-Of-The-Art VA Hospital In Orlando
WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson has announced final plans to build a new hospital for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Lake Nona Boulevard in the city of Orlando, ending speculation about the facility’s location and clearing the way for purchase and site development.
“This will be a fabulous state-of-the-art health care facility, improving access to VA’s world-class services and reducing travel time for many veterans of the Sunshine State and their families,” said Nicholson, who toured the Lake Nona site and other potential medical center locations during a visit to Orlando in mid-February.
For the first time, VA’s acute care, complex specialty care and advanced diagnostic services will be available for inpatients in east central Florida. More than 90,000 veterans already enrolled in VA health care will directly benefit from the location.
The complex will include a 134-bed hospital, a 120-bed nursing home, a 60-bed domiciliary, an outpatient clinic, a veterans benefits office to help veterans with financial benefits and generous parking.
Nicholson weighed public hearing testimony from veterans and other stakeholders, plus input from expert advisors in making the final location decision. Six sites originally were viewed as options, subsequently narrowed to Lake Nona and another site that was not chosen, a tract at International Corporate Park on Bee Line Expressway.
The new Orlando VA Medical Center will be located in a health care and research district that includes the planned University of Central Florida medical school and a research institute, providing important clinical and research opportunities for VA.
Scheduled to open in 2012, veterans can expect to see construction activity next year as grading and site preparation begin.
VA has not yet received appropriations to allow it to close on the property, though funds were requested in the fiscal year 2008 budget currently being deliberated on Capitol Hill. The purchase price for the Lake Nona Boulevard tract is not yet firm, since VA has not finalized negotiations with the owner.
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