Mobile is set to get a new, larger veterans’ outpatient clinic, according to the terms of a contract award made public last week.
The planned 65,000-square-foot clinic will be 20,000 square feet larger than the current clinic at Spring Hill Avenue and Catherine Street, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS).
“We have a sacred mission to fulfill, providing quality health care to veterans, and what happened this week is a very important first step in the process to give veterans and VA staff in the Mobile area a clinic a brand-new facility,” GCVHCS Director Anthony L. Dawson said in a statement. “Our veterans in Mobile deserve the absolute best, and I feel this new facility will help us provide them with the high-quality care and services they deserve.”
Dawson said the construction of the new clinic at the corner of Interstate 10 and Rangeline Road in Tillman’s Corner should take roughly three years from the notice to proceed VA has to give the lessor, US Federal Properties Co., LLC, after his project team discusses various aspects of the new facility before construction can begin.
University of South Alabama spokesman Bob Lowry confirmed Thursday morning that the VA’s rent will remain $83,500, despite concerns of a spike built into a 2013 contract. Lowry wrote in an email message that USA and the VA were able to work out terms to keep rent at the same rate.
Jerron Barnett, a spokesman with GCVHCS, wrote in an email message that construction costs for the facility are estimated at roughly $23 million. The agency chose the location for the new clinic partly because of its accessibility.
“The selected site is conveniently located near main thoroughfares in Mobile, i.e. interstates 10 and 65, and U.S. Highway 90,” Barnett wrote. “Additionally, access to city transportation will be available to and from the clinic, which is situated along Rangeline Road across the street from shopping malls, home improvement stores and eating establishments. Part of the process that led us to this site is the developer submits their technical proposal on their site and once the lease is awarded, it is awarded to the selected developer on their pre-selected site.”
The new clinic will include the following practice areas: primary care, audiology and speech pathology, education, eye clinics, mental health, patient advocacy, radiology, veterans’ service organizations and women’s health.
“This announcement is music to the ears of the over 50,000 veterans who live in Southwest Alabama,” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said in a statement. “Since being elected to Congress, I have repeatedly called on the VA to move forward with this project. It is a shame the process took as long as it did, but the new facility will be able to better serve those who have given so much to our country.”
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement he hopes Mobile’s veterans receive the quality of care they deserve through the new clinic.
“The city of Mobile has been long overdue for a new VA facility,” he said. “There are thousands of veterans living in Mobile who have served their country and they deserve a world-class facility that serves them.”
Earlier this week, Gov. Robert Bentley also announced a new online tool for Alabama’s veterans and their families. According to a news release, the Alabama Executive Veterans Network (AlaVetNet) has established a website that will serve as a repository for resources, providing a mechanism for veterans to find the services they need in a much faster and more user-friendly manner. More information is available at AlaVetNet.Alabama.gov.
This story was updated at 9:51 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18 to correct the spelling of a name and to change the expected construction time to three years. It was also updated to add information from USA spokesman Bob Lowry