The new facility has more than one million square feet of space to serve Southern Nevada veterans. It houses a 90-bed, in-patient sector; a 120-bed community living center and includes administrative, educational, research and support functions.
The ambulatory care buildings house medical specialties clinics and mental health programs. The project cost about $600 million to complete. Ground-breaking began in October 2006 and was completed earlier this year.
More that 800 guests attended the dedication ceremony, which began promptly at 9:30 am. Center Director John Bright acted as master of ceremonies.
After the Nellis Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors, an invocation was given prior to Bright introducing the special guests: Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, Sen. Dean Heller and Sen. Harry Reid.
“What a remarkable facility! This is just a down payment for our vets. I was a leading voice in seeing this project happen,” Berkley said before presenting Bright an American Flag which had flown over the Capitol on July 4.
Heller said, ”What a historic day for Southern Nevada.” He spoke graciously about all who contributed to the completion of the project.
Reid added, “This is the finest V.A. facility in the entire world. It is completely state of art.” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gen. Eric K. Shinseki was then introduced by Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel.
“What a great day for Southern Nevada vets,” Shinseki said. “This is the first new facility built in 17 years. It is the greenest facility in the land. It has three acres of solar panels to provide power throughout. The heartbeat of this facility though is the workers who provide the care our veterans need. They should get a big hand.”
The ceremony concluded with Airamis Cyril singing “Well Done Soldier, Welcome Home” which drew a standing applause from the attendees.
Mesquite veterans attending were Howie Koontz, Chuck Thompson, Rodger Gessel, Jim Lynch, Jimmie Shearer and Harold Straley all DAV van drivers, also attending were veteran Ray Rahfeldt and fellow Elks Shelley Piper and Lou Martin.