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$98.8 million slated for new VA rehab center

Palo Alto VA campus center to treat specialized injuries will be the first of its kind

A new, state-of-the art Polytrauma-Blind Rehabilitation Center to be built at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System campus has just received $98.8 million in funding, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday (Oct. 11).

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki awarded the contract to Walsh/DeMaria Joint Venture V of Chicago, Ill., on Sept. 30 to build the new rehab center.

The contract is part of a $1.6 billion reconstruction project that is underway at the Palo Alto campus that will consolidate services and replace aging buildings weakened or damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

In 2005, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System was designated a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Since then, the program has been housed in an existing facility originally constructed in 1960. The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center, which began in 1967, has been housed in a building constructed in 1977.

The center will be the VA's first and only Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center to be combined with a Blind Rehabilitation Center. At 174,000 square feet, the new facility will be the largest consolidated rehabilitation center in the Veteran's Affairs system. The Rehabilitation Center includes 24 beds for the polytrauma program, 32 beds for the blind rehabilitation program, and 12 beds for the polytrauma transitional rehabilitation program.

The center will also have an outpatient physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic, an outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, and clinical programs for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans. A 600-car, four-story parking garage will also be constructed adjacent to the new facility.

"VA Palo Alto continues to lead the way in patient care and innovative treatment options for our returning veterans," U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) stated in a press release Tuesday.

"This new state-of-the-art facility is the first of its kind, and will help to ensure that we meet our commitments to the brave women and men returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. I applaud VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and the entire staff at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System for their continued care and devotion to our veterans."

Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2014. The three-story environmentally designed facility will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver equivalency.

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