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Orlando VA Could Treat Vets By Spring

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The long-awaited Orlando VA hospital in Lake Nona is 95 percent complete.

That’s according to builder Brasfield & Gorrie, which says parts of the $665 million facility have been turned over the VA.

Orlando VA spokesman Michael Strickler said veterans could start being seen as soon as spring, with summer the target for the hospital to be fully operational.

“We’re almost there, leaning heavily forward, to try and get veterans in the door,” Strickler said.

Building a massive hospital is, in some ways, like building a house. When the builder says it’s done, it’s time to check everything works- including the electrical outlets, windows, heating and AC.

The Orlando VA Medical Center is about to start doing just that, a process that will take four to six months.

The VA is also looking to hire staff for the hospital.

“At this point, we’re recruiting for nearly 600 positions,” Strickler said. “And the possibility that that could go up in the future.  Everything depends on the veteran population here in Central Florida.”

Tracey Sibley, vice president of marketing for Brasfield & Gorrie, said parts of the project have already been turned over to the VA.

“The VA has begun moving the medical equipment into the facility with Brasfield & Gorrie’s support,” Sibley wrote in an email to WMFE.

A judge hasn’t decided yet who will pay for costs that went over budget at the facility.

Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFEin Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.