Jacobsen Construction completes one of country’s largest veteran care facilities

Dive Brief:

  • The Phoenix 32nd Street VA Clinic, one of the largest veteran care facilities in the country, opened its doors June 27.
  • The 275,000-square-foot Department of Veterans Affairs facility was built by Salt Lake City-based Jacobsen Construction, according to a press release from Hoefer Welker, the project’s Kansas City-based architecture firm. The structure sits on 15 acres and will provide care for up to 500,000 patient visits each year.  
  • Healthcare construction, particularly for outpatient clinics, remains a vibrant sector in the U.S. Starts reached $30 billion in 2021 and are forecasted to jump to $33.2 billion this year, according to Dodge Construction Network.

Dive Insight:

Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough recently called for veterans hospitals in the Northeast, Midwest and rural West to be closed as part of a push to address a shift in the population of military veterans moving to the Sun Belt and Southwest. Some of those buildings are so old that repairing the structures would cost more than new construction, according to VA officials. 

At the same time, veterans are projected to increase their presence over the next decade in the Southwest region by 25%. In areas like New England, the veteran population is projected to drop 18%, reports the Washington Post.

The new five-story building in Phoenix includes multispecialty and telehealth clinics, an education center and pathology and imaging departments.

The first floor holds a full kitchen and canteen for staff and patients, while the second floor features one of the largest outpatient mental health clinics in the area. The space provides counseling and specialty mental health services. Floors three, four and five include approximately 180 exam rooms. 

Hosam Habib, director of design at Hoefer Welker, said the company used its previous experience in designing more than 30 VA facilities to deliver a clinic that reflects veterans’ health needs. That includes common areas, easy navigation and an overall focus on healing and hospitality. 

The design incorporates extensive daylighting features such as light wells in darker parts of the facility, panoramic views of the Arizona mountains and access to green space and outdoor activities.

“As a firm, we’ve built a solid partnership with the VA over the past 15 years,” said Habib in the release. “VA projects are very unique because they’re centered around a mission to give back to the veteran community, which has very specific needs.” 

The structure also incorporates climate-responsive design features such as high-performance glazing and adjustable solar panels.

The Pacific Southwest — namely Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah — remains one of the dominant regions for healthcare construction. Only the South Atlantic is pegged to take a greater share of healthcare projects from 2022 to 2023, according to Dodge data.

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