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After nearly a decade of planning and six years of construction, Las Vegas Valley veterans got a first look at a new, $600 million Veterans Affairs hospital in North Las Vegas Monday morning.
"Good morning ladies and gentleman, and welcome to VA North Las Vegas," John Bright, director of the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, said at a dedication ceremony.
Hundreds of men and women, some dressed in military uniforms, packed into the first-floor hallways of the six-story, 1 million-square-foot building as Bright and other dignitaries, including Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shineski, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley, marked the completion of the center, which will begin taking patients Aug. 14.
The opening of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 6900 N. Pecos Road, will transform the way veterans receive health care in the valley, consolidating services that were once scattered across some 20 medical offices in the valley.
It will be the first-ever VA hospital in Southern Nevada and the first new VA hospital to open since the 1990s. Similar VA hospitals are under construction in New Orleans, Denver and Orlando, Fla.
Nevada's state-of-the-art facility will be able to offer surgery, specialty care, mental health services, rehabilitation and extended care. The complex includes a 120-bed skilled nursing home and an ambulatory care center.
"We gather today to open a large and expensive building complex...but it's more than that. We dedicate a 21st century health care center of excellence with cutting-edge technology -- the VA's first new medical center in 17 years," Shineski said. "Even more than that, this is a promise kept."