Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
Contact: John Wright
|For Immediate Release: Sept. 27, 2004||
Interior Department to Transfer Land
for New VA Medical Center in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS- In a ceremony today, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi, joined by Nevada Sen. John Ensign, and other federal state representatives, announced a proposed land transfer that will be the site of a new $325 million full-service medical center in North Las Vegas.
"The president has made veterans a very high priority for this administration and we have the opportunity by working together with two federal departments to have a unique cooperative effort," Norton said. "We're blessed to have many, many acres of Bureau of Land Management Lands in Nevada and it turns out that we have a site that is going to be a wonderful home for the new veteran's medical center."
Norton noted that the Interior Department is proposing to transfer jurisdiction of 154.70 acres of public land in Clark County, Nev. to the Department of Veteran Affairs to build the VA medical center and health care facility. The land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the Interior Department.
"I commend Secretary Principi for showing great vision and determination in developing a state of the art medical facility for our veterans," Secretary Norton said. "This is a unique cooperative effort, and I can't imagine a more important use of our public land than providing our veterans with the quality medical care they need and deserve as a result of their wonderful service to this country."
The proposed site for the medical center is located within the city limits of the City of North Las Vegas near the intersection of Pecos and Route 215. The land has an estimated value of more than $30 million.
"I am fulfilling a commitment to Nevada veterans," Secretary Principi said. "As promised, we're moving forward with this state-of-the-art healthcare facility, reflecting our commitment to Nevada veterans who have served our nation in uniform. With this land conveyance and site, Nevada veterans are an important step closer to having 21st century healthcare in a 21st century facility."
"Today's announcement represents our recognition of veterans' sacrifices and our commitment to providing the quality medical care they have earned," said Sen. John Ensign. "The fact that so many veterans call Nevada home is a source of great pride for our state, and our ability to meet their medical needs is a vital obligation we are working hard to meet. This is a great day for Nevada's veterans and I'm proud to be a part of it."
Because the land is already federal, the VA would acquire the land from BLM at no cost, significantly reducing the cost of the overall project. Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2006 and end in the summer of 2009.
"Today's event is a great example of cooperation between the agencies of the federal government to enhance the lives of our veterans, and between the federal, state and local governments to achieve that same noble objective,'' Principi said.
The transfer of BLM land is the first step in the process. "The Bureau of Land Management is beginning the process by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. The notice begins a 90-day public comment period, which we are required to do," Norton said. "We will be working closely with the Department of Veteran Affairs to process the lands transfer so that they can build this much needed medical facility to serve our veterans, to whom we owe so much."
The Interior Department will publish a proposed notice of intent to transfer in the Federal Register this week. The public will have 90 days to submit written comments, make request for meetings, provide suggestions, or objections in connection with the proposed land transfer in writing to:
BLM Nevada State Director
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