CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local VA Health Clinic could be serving even more veterans in our area as soon as next fall.
The VA clinic in Chippewa Falls will be moving to a new and expanded space more than double the size of the current clinic located at 2503 County Highway I, Chippewa Falls.
The Minneapolis VA Health Care System has awarded a ten year lease to Mid-States Development, who will redevelop existing space in NorthRidge Center.
With construction beginning early 2014, the VA says they hope they can open the 12,150-square-foot facility at the end of the year.
The VA clinic in Chippewa Falls serves more than 4,000 veterans in Western Wisconsin. They say the numbers are increasing because of men and women coming home from recent wars.
“An expanded clinic is an acknowledgment that the returning service men and women as well as our veteran service members need and deserve medical care in the state of the art facility,” said Ralph Heussner, spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Minneapolis.
Heussner says the Chippewa Falls clinic built in 1998 is one of the oldest clinics and is need of upgrades and renovations.
“I do go out to the clinic have a physical out here,” said Vietnam War Veteran George Adrian.
Adrian, a Purple Heart recipient says the new clinic will be more convenient for local veterans and those outside of town.
“It's close to Highway 29 and there will be a little easier access; it should be easier for people to find if they're coming let’s say from Thorp, or Stanley, or Boyd ,or Eau Claire area,” explained Adrian.
The clinic will provide primary care for male and female veterans, radiology, and mental health counseling among other services.
With a larger number of veterans serviced VA says the number of staff will likely grow as well.
With the new location being close to downtown Chippewa Falls, Adrian, who is also a Chippewa Falls city council member says it will benefit the community as a whole.
“It will bring in more jobs, it will bring more people into the area; and when people are coming in they'll get a chance to see what a beautiful downtown Chippewa is,” added Adrian.
A Mid-States Development representative says the clinic will be renovated by local contractors, and will be based on the design provided by the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. It oversees 11 clinics in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Department of Veterans Affairs will spend 1.5 million dollars on the space renovations and improvements.