Local veterans have hailed the news that a contract has been awarded for the construction of a new Veterans Affairs clinic at French Camp.
The VA and Army Corps of Engineers have announced that the $143,594,000 contract has been awarded to S.J. Amoroso Construction Co. of Redwood City to build the multi-story, 158,000-square foot outpatient clinic near San Joaquin General Hospital.
Construction will begin sometime this fall and completion is scheduled in 2022.
Vaughn Gates, commander of Tracy’s James McDermott Post of the American Legion, said the project has been in the works for more than a decade and has been subjected to a number of delays.
“Originally, the VA was in charge of constructing the clinic, but they kept moving the French Camp clinic up and down a priorities list,” he said. “That’s when Congress moved the responsibility to the Army Corps of Engineers.”
Gates said former Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, was instrumental in applying pressure for construction of the clinic.
“Jeff just kept pushing — asking questions, demanding answers and rallying support of veterans in this area,” he said.
Bob Carpenter, commander of Tracy Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1537, said the awarding of the construction contract was good news for not only Tracy vets but also those throughout this area.
“The VA has a smaller clinic in French Camp, but with the increasing number of veterans in this area, it is being stressed to provide outpatient services in its present facility,” he said. “We have had to go often to the clinic in Livermore or the hospital in Palo Alto.”
There is still uncertainly over the future of the Livermore VA facility, which has both a clinic and long-term care, Carpenter said.
The new French Camp clinic will feature the VA’s Patient Aligned Care Team design, aka PACT, which integrates mental health with medical services to better serve veterans.
In the future, a long-term care unit is planned to be added to the French Camp VA campus, but that could be years away, according to local vets.