FILE - VA hospital, veterans' administration

(The Center Square) – A long-awaited new veterans affairs hospital in Louisville is closer to reality. Earlier this week, the VA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded an $840 million contract to build the new medical center.

Chicago-based Walsh-Turner Joint Venture II won the bid for the project. In a statement, the government agencies said the new facility, which will be constructed near the intersection of Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway in Louisville’s East End, would replace the existing Robley Rex VA Medical Center, a 69-year-old campus about 5 miles west of the new site and closer to the city’s downtown.

The medical center serves more than 150,000 veterans living in 35 counties in Kentucky and southern Indiana.

The facility will be built on a 34-acre lot. It will feature a 910,115-square-foot medical center, two parking structures, a utility plant as well as roads, sidewalks and other essential infrastructure.

The new full-service hospital will feature 104 beds and also include a dedicated facility to serve female veterans.

“It will integrate modern patient-centered care design concepts in order to provide the best possible care to our veterans,” said Stephen Black, the Robley Rex Medical Center Director, in a video statement announcing the winning bid.

Walsh-Turner brings together Chicago-based Walsh Construction and New York-based Turner Construction. The two construction companies combine to offer more than 240 years of building management experience.

The two companies are currently building a new $1.8 billion medical center at The Ohio State University.

Black added that the building of the new complex will also offer job and business opportunities for veterans. In its bid, Walsh-Turner identified about $95 million in projects that will be subcontracted to qualified small businesses.

That would include work for both veteran-owned small businesses and ones owned by service-disabled veterans.

“Not only is this going to be a hospital that focuses on world-class care for veterans, but there’s going to be lots of opportunities for work for veterans in the building of this hospital,” Black said.

A formal groundbreaking date has not been announced but is planned to happen this fall. The new facility is expected to open in late 2025.

The announcement of the contract award came a day after the VA officially opened a new clinic in southwest Louisville that will serve more than 8,000 veterans living in the community.

The $4.7 million, 33,750-square-foot facility offers 27 examination rooms for primary care, women’s health, telehealth, audiology and optometry. Additionally, there are 15 rooms for mental health, a vocational rehabilitation computer lab, and three