APRIL 19, 2012 10:46 a.m. (26)
Rather than spend hours in the car traveling to Columbia’s Dorn VA Medical Center for routine therapy and treatment, more Upstate veterans will soon be able to stay close to home for medical care at a new outpatient VA clinic slated to open next year.
Officials broke ground this week on a 77,000-square-foot facility in Greenville designed to provide services to more Upstate veterans.
With increasing numbers of veterans requiring ongoing treatment for everything from head injuries to post-traumatic stress disorder, the larger clinic (20,000 more square feet than the current facility) and additional staff will be able to treat more veterans and reduce waiting time for services.
According to the VA, Greenville’s current VA clinic, which opened in 1985 and moved to the present location on Augusta Road in 1992, was originally projected to serve 20,000 veterans and now has nearly 50,000 visits annually. The new facility will provide primary care services along with dental and pharmaceutical services for an estimated 17,000 local veterans.
The new $30 million clinic will be located near Greenville Hospital at 951 Grove Road, and is scheduled to open in spring 2013. It is designed to be certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver and will include naturally lit sitting areas, along with a landscaped green space.
George Blevins, Director of Greenville County Veterans Affairs, said the new clinic will offer more convenient care for the estimated 38,000 veterans in Greenville County. “It appears to be a super-organized facility and from the front door on it looks very accessible,” he says.
Inadequate parking at the current clinic will be resolved with 400 parking spaces at the new clinic. The proximity to the hospital is also more convenient, Blevins said. “I love the location; it’s so easy to explain to a veteran where it is.” He adds that veterans who may not have sought care before may be attracted to the new facility.
Greenville County Council chairman and veteran Butch Kirven said the new clinic “was badly needed and is a blessing to the veterans and their families of the Upstate. Those who serve make a commitment to go where they are told to go, and to do what they are told to do, no matter the danger, personal discomfort or separation from loved ones.
“We remain a free nation of free citizens because they carry out this commitment. In return, as citizens, our commitment to them is to always do our best to heal their wounds and give them what they need. This new VA clinic is a tangible example of our commitment to the veterans.”