The VA Medical Center in Lake Nona.
The VA Medical Center in Lake Nona. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda, Orlando Sentinel)

The Orlando VA Medical Center will be a 1.2 million square-foot veterans care center that will serve as a focal point in the 650-acre Lake Nona Medical City. The new medical campus, anchored by a 134-bed inpatient hospital and emergency room that should open in late 2015, will serve more than 102,000 enrolled veterans in Central and east Central Florida, which is home to more than 400,000 veterans.

In addition to the hospital, the campus will include a large multispecialty outpatient clinic, and a diagnostic and testing center.


Already open are a 120-bed community living center that offers hospice and rehabilitation services to restore function, prevent decline, maximize independence, and provide comfort during end of life care. Veterans recovering for short periods from injuries like broken hips are also being treated there.

Also operating is a 60-bed domiciliary residential rehabilitation treatment program, where patients with chronic homelessness, mental health, and drug and alcohol issues are treated. There is also a veterans chapel, a central energy plant, and the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park that honors Central Florida's servicemen and women who were killed in action.

The facility was built with input from psychiatrists to create an atmosphere most conducive to healing and to patients keeping their independence. For instance, floors in the community living center are two different colors—beige on the left and dark brown on the right--to help patients remain on the right path as they travel the halls. The hospital also took a page from Disney, using the "on stage, off stage" approach, where public areas are designed to be warm and inviting, while behind-the-scenes treatment areas contain all the accoutrements of a modern medical facility.



START DATE: October 24, 2008

END DATE: By end of year or early 2016

PROJECT BUDGET: $665 million, but will be completed for $600 million, although the project is a couple of years behind schedule, a VA spokesman said. 

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Brasfield & Gorrie

DESCRIPTION: A 1.2 million square-foot Veterans Medical Care campus that features an array of veteran medical services