More than 2,000 tour new Cape Coral VA Clinic

Gabrielle Sarann

More than 2,000 tour new Cape Coral VA Clinic

CREATED Dec. 8, 2012

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Thousands lined up to tour Lee County's New Veterans Affairs Healthcare Center.

"It's absolutely gorgeous," said Shirley Diaz, of Cape Coral. "I think it's a wonderful asset."
An asset to care for the 202,000 vets here in southwest Florida, according to Jason Dangel, a spokesman for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.
"Our current Fort Myers location was very cramped," said Dangel.
Which is why the VA built an outpatient facility that's four times as large. The $80 million clinic is 220,000 square feet and centrally located on Diplomat Parkway in Cape Coral.
"Previously, they had to travel all the way to St. Petersburg," added Dangel. "So, a lot of those procedures will be done here in Lee County, which saves a lot of driving time."
A major draw for many.
"They might not have to go up to bay pines now, which is a 100 mile trip," said Jim Thompson, of Punta Gorda. "They can come here and get the same thing."
The center boasts a range of services, including eight operating rooms equipped with the latest technology, 21 pre and post opp bays and 12 dental areas. A staff of 450 work there. The first patients will come in next Monday.  
"It's so new and clean and there's a million people here," said Betty Marble, of North Fort Myers. Her husband, Joe, added, "And a lot more services than I expected."
The Lee County VA Healthcare Center opens Monday, December 17. That's when the Fort Myers clinic will close.