Last week we pondered the origins of a video that surfaced showing a computer visualization of what could be a future Veterans Administration clinic in Lakeland. Nobody we contact could tell us much about the video, but a picture is starting to emerge and it involves bids to build the clinic.

We reached out last week to the Kansas City architecture firm whose name was displayed at the start and end of the video, as well as the designer at the firm who uploaded it to Vimeo. They still haven’t responded to our questions.

We tried to contact somebody at the VA national headquarters without results.

The office of U.S. Rep. Spano didn’t know about the video, but let us know the congressman was disappointed by how long it’s taken to get the  Lakeland Veterans Administration Community Based Outpatient Clinic project moving after it was approved in 2017.

Gary Clark, chairman of the Polk County Veterans Council, hadn’t seen the video before but he was able to get some answers.

He’s on the advisory committee for the clinic and contacted Shayna Rodriguez, public affairs specialist with the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.

According to Rodriguez, the VA is going through the bidding process to determine who will construct the clinic.

“It seems that the video was produced by one of the offerors. It is not customary for offerors to release videos of their proposed plans to the public,” Rodriguez said.

(This reminds me of a time that LkldNow discovered a computer visualization of a downtown project idea that a local designer uploaded to Vimeo for colleagues to see without realizing it was available to anybody searching the video site.)

“No design plans are final until much later in the process – after an offeror has been selected and vetted, and after designs are drawn up and reviewed by stakeholders,” Rodriguez said.

The offerers and the General Services Administration submitted proposed sites that will be visited by local technical experts, Rodriguez said.

Soon after the facility was approved in 2017, the VA said it would likely be built somewhere west of the Polk Parkway, south of I-4, east of County Line Road and north of Drane Field Road.

The big news, Rodriguez said, will be “when a contract is awarded. That will certainly be cause for celebration.”

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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