A video posted online this week gives a glimpse at what the Veterans Administration clinic planned for south Lakeland might look like.
The video comes from a Kansas City architecture firm that specializes in health-care facilities and has designed several VA hospitals. But it’s not clear whether it represents an approved design for the Lakeland clinic or a proposal or maybe something else.
We contacted the office of U.S. Rep. Ross Spano. They didn’t say if the video represents an approved design, but they know they are frustrated at how long it’s taking to get the project done.
The Lakeland Veterans Administration Community Based Outpatient Clinic was authorized at $11 million in 2017, according to Daniel Bucheli, Spano’s communications director. “The lease award is reportedly planned for March 2021, and the facility opening is scheduled for March 2024,” he said in an email.
“Rep. Spano has been on top of this issue as he finds these times tables to be too long,” Bucheli wrote. In a September hearing, Spano “made the statement/comparison that we can build a skyscraper faster than this outlined timetable. We have remained in communication with the VA committee to see what else can be done to speed up the process/construction/delivery of this clinic for area veterans.”
Gary Clark, chairman of the Polk County Veterans Council, also expressed frustration at the delays, saying the current clinic at 4237 S. Pipkin Road is “saturated. The planned new clinic is expected to be at least five times larger.”
Clark, who is a member of the advisory committee for the clinic, said he wasn’t familiar with the video.
We’ve also submitted questions to the Veterans Administration.
Soon after the facility was approved in 2017, the VA said it would be built somewhere west of the Polk Parkway, south of I-4, east of County Line Road and north of Drane Field Road.
2017 map from The Ledger:
One sign that the video could be a new upload of an earlier production is that the opening image attributes the work to Hoefer Wysocki and USFP, which presumably stands for University of South Florida Polytechnic. That institution preceded Florida Polytechnic University, and the name went out of use sometime after the Florida Legislative dissolved the USF branch campus in 2012 and Florida Poly opened in 2014.