CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A new clinic is coming to Hampton Roads, and it's getting the thumbs up from a lot of local veterans.
"It's a big buzz here in Chesapeake. We're very excited," said Chesapeake Mayor Rick West.
Looking ahead, veterans and local leaders are excited for shorter wait times and less traveling for treatments. It was announced Tuesday that a new Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will be built on the Chesapeake Regional Healthcare campus.
"It's going to be amazing. There are so many veterans that have to make such a long wait before they can get appointments," said Navy veteran Joseph Guinazzo.
Guinazzo is one of about 120,000 veterans living on the Southside but receiving treatment in Hampton.
"I probably go about once a month to see my primary care provider - labs, routine labs; I do that too up there, so [I'm on the road] pretty frequently. It's going to be nice. In a couple years, I won't have to make those hour-long treks and wake up super early in the morning," he said.
The proposed clinic is a two-story, state-of-the-art medical facility. It will be built near the Cypress Landing Veterans Housing and is projected to begin construction in 2022, with completion in the fall of 2024.
The General Services Administration awarded the project, which will sit on 24.5 acre site, to the Molasky Group of Companies.
John Rogers with the Hampton VA Medical Center said the Chesapeake facility will also alleviate pressure on the Peninsula.
"Hampton is one of the fastest growing VAs in the country. We're also one of the oldest. We've been here for 150 years as of December 2020," he said. "We'ere growing by 20% over the next 10 years, so we're trying to be proactive."
He said from parking problems to HRBT traffic, the new VA location will be a more convenient option with strong resources.
"[It will be an] easily accessible, modern facility. Some same-day surgeries if possible for primary care teams, so it's going to be a world class facility," Rogers said.
Senator Mark Warner, who has been pushing for this outpatient center for years, said, "This new outpatient facility is long-overdue in a region with one of the fastest-growing veterans populations in the country and where veterans often battle traffic and long wait times to access the care they’ve earned. After years of delays, I’m pleased that a site for this new VA clinic in Southside Hampton Roads has finally been selected and look forward to working with local and federal officials to make sure that it opens its doors as soon as possible."
Nearly 150 active duty, reserve and retired veterans are employed at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and its affiliated practices. Additionally, the organization partners with the Military Medics and Corpsman program.
"The number one thing it brings is a sense of satisfaction as a city who cares helping our veterans," said Mayor West. "They gave to this country, and we need to give back."