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Explore the rich heritage of Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

Our history

The history of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center began in 1921 when the U.S. Veterans Bureau leased the Asbury Hospital in Minneapolis, MN and the Aberdeen Hotel in St. Paul, MN to provide for hospitalization of World War I Veterans from Minnesota and adjoining states.

In 1925 an executive order of President Calvin Coolidge transferred a 160-acre tract of land from the Fort Snelling Military Reservation and a Veterans Administration Facility was erected there. Original cost of the building which provided for 557 hospital beds, was $1,277,725. The building opened in March 1927 and by that June 520 patients were receiving treatment.

At the end of World War II, the facility had grown to no fewer than 36 separate structures. These included five hospital buildings, a recreational building, an administration building, nurses home, attendants quarters, one single and three duplex physicians’ residences; a warehouse, laundry, garage, power plant and a building housing a fire department.

Even with additions and remodeling adding capacity of over 1000 beds, a 1974 Veterans Administration survey found that the Minneapolis VA Hospital had the most serious space deficiencies in the entire VA system. The decision was made to replace 90 percent of the Medical Center, on its present site, with a four-story structure (proximity to the airport limited the height of the building) designed to house 845 beds. Construction of this structure began in 1983 and was completed in 1987. Transfer of patients to the new facility, Building 70, took place in 1988.

A few Medical Center facts:

  • The project cost $200 million ($54 million under budget)
  • At 1.5 million square feet, the Medical Center is slightly larger than the IDS building in Minneapolis, Minnesota's tallest building.
  • Over 4000 rooms
  • A window emitting natural light is in each patient's room, which explains the reason for the three large atria in the facility.
  • Automated Transport System (ATS) is used to deliver patient trays, linen and sterile supplies. The Transportation system includes 20 flatbed vehicles and 205 carts.
  • The U.S. flag in the Visitor Atrium measures 50 feet long by 30 feet wide. Each star is 15 inches from point to point.