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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


Secretary Shinseki Breaks Ground for Replacement Medical Center in New Orleans

June 25, 2010, 08:00:00 AM

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Project to Bring 2,000 Construction Jobs

NEW ORLEANS – Fulfilling President Obama’s commitment to rebuild New Orleans, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki joined state and local officials for a ground-breaking ceremony for a new 1.5 million-square-foot medical center for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“This is a historic day for all of Louisiana,” Secretary Shinseki said.  “With this ground breaking, we begin rebuilding a new legacy, a new chapter in the history of this proud city.” 

VA’s new full-service medical center campus in New Orleans is at a site bounded by Canal Street, S. Galvez Street, Tulane Avenue and S. Rocheblave Street.

“This facility will become a cornerstone in New Orleans’ medical research community, which will ensure the best care is available for our Louisiana Veterans,” Shinseki added.  “VA is proud to bring this state-of-the-art facility to New Orleans.”

When opened in 2013, the facility will have 120 inpatient beds in addition to 60 transitional care beds that provide rehabilitation, hospice and palliative care and mental illness research.  The hospital will accommodate a half-million outpatient visits annually. 

The new medical center will also be ideally suited to serve Veterans and the citizens of southern Louisiana in the case of an emergency.  Once construction is complete, the new medical center will be able to operate independently for seven days without resupply.  All mission-critical services will be 20 feet above ground level, and the facility will have a heliport and boat dock for evacuations.

As part of VA’s preservation efforts, the Pan-American Life Insurance Company Building will be rehabilitated and integrated into the design of the new medical center.  VA will also conduct a structural appraisal of the Dixie Brewery.  VA is working with the city and state to ensure all other historically significant buildings are either preserved and moved from the site or that architecturally significant pieces will be salvaged before any necessary demolition. 

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