The new Robley Rex VA Medical Center is many years in the making. It has taken bipartisan support, four presidents, two Louisville mayors and one U.S. representative’s entire career to even begin.
Government officials, people involved with the project and veterans celebrated this year’s Veterans Day by gathering for a groundbreaking ceremony.
Located on Brownsboro Road off of I-264, the currently empty lot will be transformed by Walsh-Turner Joint Venture II in an $840 million construction project.
The new medical center will replace the existing one of the same name currently located off Zorn Avenue.
The facility will be almost one million square feet and will include two parking garages, green space and a 104-bed, full-service hospital.
“All told, this facility will provide state of the art infrastructure for our veterans while fulfilling our mission to deliver the first-class health care our nation’s heroes have earned and deserved,” said director for the Robley Rex VA medical center, Jo-Ann Ginsberg.
Another highlight of the new facility is space dedicated to women’s health, something that many older VA medical centers don’t have.
Following an injury that caused her to be discharged from service, veteran women’s health became a focus of Petty Officer 1st Class, U.S. Navy, Arlena Johnson’s veteran advocacy.
“For us to get it, it really, really hits home for me,” Johnson said. “So it’s a step forward for us, we give birth to the nation as women, so we should be rewarded in return.”
The new VA medical center took years of bipartisan support at the federal level to get funded.
Both U.S. Representative John Yarmuth, a Democrat, and U.S. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, were in attendance at the groundbreaking, something Yarmuth pointed out is not a common occurrence.
“But we are here because we understand the incredible importance of this facility to our veterans,” Yarmuth said.
The new VA center is a project Yarmuth has been working on since his first campaign for the House of Representatives in 2006. Now, years later, the groundbreaking at the site happened after he announced his retirement.
“I am so proud that we will be able to facilitate the finest possible medical care for those tens of thousands of veterans in this region who rely on the VA for their health care,” Yarmuth said.
It’s a sentiment echoed by McConnell.
“While no government program can fully repay the great debt we owe, by breaking ground on this project today we are taking a meaningful step toward fulfilling our sacred obligation to our nation’s heroes.”
Construction on the new Robley Rex VA Medical Center is scheduled to be done in 2025.