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Groundbreaking for VA medical facility Friday

Efforts to meet the demand for an updated Veterans clinic in Pahrump will take giant step forward today as area veterans and dignitaries come together for a special groundbreaking ceremony at the site adjacent to Desert View Hospital.

The 11 a.m. ceremony comes after many years of bureaucratic red tape holding up the $12.1 million project along Lola Lane.

Dr. Tom Waters, USAF Lt. Colonel (Ret), said today could not come soon enough for he and other area veterans.

“I have seen the artist’s rendering and it’s going to be fantastic for all of the veterans in the area,” he said. “Not only the county, but even some of those outside of the county who will drive here just because it’s new. It is a clinic, so it won’t have any emergency rooms. If we need an emergency room, we can just go right over to Desert View Hospital.”

Since 2012, Nevada lawmakers have pressed the veterans administration to move forward on a new Pahrump VA clinic.

The original target date for a construction contract was Sept. 30, 2012.

VA officials said the project became mired within the bureaucracy, where lawyers got involved after questions were whether the VA had the proper authority to move forward with the project.

Waters, who has been following progress from the beginning stages, said veterans will be able to receive numerous services in a state-of-the-art facility.

“I know my provider will be there and they can do most of the things that we need,” he said. “They will have a lot of functions there that they don’t have at the current VA clinic right now, plus they will have a lot more space. They will have a larger conference room with a place for the nurses and doctors. It’s just going to be ideal.”

The Neenan Company, based on Colorado, will build the 10,000-square-foot outpatient clinic, which will eventually replace the smaller VA clinic in Pahrump.

“This project marks our third with the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said David Shigekane, president of The Neenan Company, in a press release. “The Neenan Company is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue its work with the VA, allowing our team to provide our health care design expertise to benefit those highly deserving of access to quality health care – our veterans.”

Waters, meanwhile, said he’s anticipating a large turnout of retired veterans, active duty personnel and elected officials.

“I’m sure congressman Cresent Hardy will be there and probably a couple of senators will be coming out as well,” he said. “There will be dignitaries who will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony and the rest of the veterans will be there to support everything that it has been done to get this clinic up and running. We have been working on this for a long time, so we can’t complain about any of our elected officials not supporting us for this clinic.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller announced Thursday he will attend the event.

In July 2014, Senator Harry Reid and then-Rep. Steven Horsford urged VA officials to explain the project delays and were told construction would begin last fall.

U.S. Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., picked up advocacy for the project after unseating Horsford for the congressional district, which includes Pahrump.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com

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