Progress report on Fresno's Veteran's Hospital

FRESNO, Calif.

The hub of Central California's VA system is the Veteran's Hospital in Central Fresno.

The main building has stood here since 1949. Numerous facelifts and upgrades have been undertaken, but nothing like the projects currently underway. Many spurred by new veterans.

VA Hospital Director, Alan Perry said, "We've looked at the population growth we know the rate these young men and women come back from Afghanistan and Iraq."

The need dictated two mental health clinics that are under construction. They'll join a third already in place.

A bird's eye view from atop the hospital reveals one project after another the two new mental health buildings, the parking area with solar panels that will produce electricity.

Dale Ferguson said, "We have more and more buildings on this little square block we own."

But the entrance overhaul is most notable. A temporary entrance is well managed but not very popular with some vets. That's where we met Navy Veteran Dale Ferguson who is taking it in stride.

Ferguson said, "It's just a nuisance that's all. They're all so friendly and helpful. I appreciate it."

Mike Reilly is in charge of all the projects and says the changes to the entrance are necessary. "So that our veterans, when it's a hundred and ten degrees outside, whether it's raining or not, when they get out of the car they're not dealing with the elements."

The price tag for all the work here and at the three north and south Valley clinics is $50 million. The funding came from Washington D.C.

A debt owed says Director Perry to the veterans of past wars as well as those from wars recent and ongoing. "Fortunately there is the wisdom of congress and this administration to put enough money out there to meet the need and that's what's happening."

In mid-August the new entrance will be unveiled heralding a new era for this sixty year old hospital while holding to its foundation of care for Central Valley's Veterans.

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