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6 projects underway at Biloxi VA hospital

BILOXI- – Six major expansion projects costing $150 million are in progress at the Veterans Affairs hospital complex in Biloxi.

Officials expect much the work to be completed next year, according to The Sun Herald.

The Biloxi complex, built in the 1930s, has taken on more patients since the Gulfport Veterans Affairs hospital closed just after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Construction began in December 2008.

The new Armed Forces Retirement Home reopened earlier this month and many of the residents there will seek treatment at the VA. New facilities to care for the blind are being built. Such patients are now being sent as far as Birmingham, Ala.

A mental health center and a 96-bed, extended-care facility addition are also under construction. Another building will have primary and specialty clinics and outpatient surgery services.

The finishing touches are being put on a new five-story, 1,000-space parking garage.

The new buildings keep with the architecture of the rest of the campus, which is covered by majestic oaks, bordering Biloxi National Cemetery.

Officials said there are plans for more upgrades, which would bring the total cost to $310 million. The next phase could include a large laundry, kitchen, security and other facilities, some of which are being designed now.

The VA Gulf Coast Health Care System, of which Biloxi is the main facility, serves about 50,000 veterans yearly along the coast between Hancock County and the Panama City, Fla., area. The system has clinics in Mobile, Ala., Eglin, Fla., Pensacola, Fla., and Panama City.

The VA also operates a major medical center in Jackson.

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