The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding services offered to about 20,000 East Valley veterans with a new clinic in Gilbert.
The VA plans to open the center in spring 2014. It will be twice the size of a Mesa clinic it’s replacing. The 60,000-square foot center is adjacent to the Loop 202 Santan Freeway, at the northeast corner of Val Vista Drive and Market Street.
The expanded clinic will broaden the types of specialty services available in the East Valley, adding audiology, radiology and dental care. The VA had outgrown the clinic it opened in the 1990s at an old Air Force base that is now near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Also, officials wanted to move closer to a freeway to make it easier for patients, VA spokeswoman Paula Pedene said.
“One of the concerns that we had, while we are in Mesa, it’s just a little far out,” Pedene said.
The VA has two Phoenix and two West Valley clinics, but just one in the East Valley.
The VA will lease the Gilbert building for nearly $2 million a year from McShane Development Company of Rosemont, Ill. It will create 423 construction jobs.
The Mesa clinic’s staff of 55 will move to Gilbert, and additional employees will be added according to the needs of the specialty services.
The clinic is expected to draw from Pinal and Gila counties. It will be overseen by the Phoenix VA Health Care System.
Several East Valley sites had been considered before Gilbert was selected. It will join about 2 million square feet of medical and clinical research facilities in a town that has made health care a top economic development priority.
Gilbert Vice Mayor John Sentz, a veteran, said the clinic is a significant addition to the medical services offered in Gilbert and it will draw clients from a broad area. He said the town was glad to be chosen but wasn’t trying to get a facility at the expense of a neighbor.
“The thing we don’t look at it as we’re competing against them,” Sentz said. “We’re starting to think, which I think is right, more regionally.”
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