VA awarding contract for long-awaited Pahrump clinic

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs is awarding a $12 million contract Wednesday to build a long-awaited health care clinic for veterans in Pahrump and Nye County, Nevada lawmakers announced.

The contract to W&J Development LLC — announced on the heels of VA Secretary Robert McDonald’s visit Tuesday to Las Vegas — comes three years after the VA solicited bids.

A project schedule was not immediately available but when completed the anticipated 9,800 square foot clinic would be the latest among the agency’s modernized health care outposts in Southern Nevada. The North Las Vegas medical center and associated community clinics opened in 2012 and a community outpatient clinic in Laughlin opened last year.

“The new Pahrump outpatient clinic brings much-needed health care access to local veterans in Nevada,” said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

The contract requires the Pahrump clinic to be completed 18 months after groundbreaking, according to Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev.

The announcement renews hope for veterans groups who had complained about the long drive and distance involved in accessing VA clinics and the medical center in the Las Vegas Valley.

“The nearly 6,000 veterans in Pahrump have earned the right to have access to the same VA healthcare as veterans living in Las Vegas do,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“The fight doesn’t end here,” Carl Jones, commander of the Disabled American Veterans Pahrump Chapter 15. “Now we need the VA to build it quickly and find the night staffing to make it operational.”

A series of Nevada lawmakers have pressured the VA to move forward on the Pahrump clinic. Last July, Reid and then-Rep. Steven Horsford summoned officials to explain the project delay and were told construction would begin last fall.

Months later, the VA is moving forward. Officials said the size and cost of the project required additional signoffs in Washington DC.

“We’re one step closer to seeing that promise fulfilled,” said Hardy, whose congressional district includes Nye County. “The delay to award this contract must not be followed by delays in construction. … The VA owes it to our veterans to keep this project on track and I won’t accept anything less.”