LONG BEACH, California – Maj. Gen. Kimberly Colloton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy commanding general for Military and International Operations – and a former LA District commander – was one of several distinguished visitors, who received an update on Corps’ projects at the VA Longbeach Healthcare System.
Colloton was joined by Col. Andrew Baker, Los Angeles District commander; Tambour Eller, Senior Executive Service chief for Interagency and International Services Division; David Hibner, SES, director, U.S. Army Geospatial Center; Col. Chad Caldwell, acting commander for the Corps’ South Pacific Division; and other senior Corps and Veterans Affairs’ leaders to review progress of the new 181,000-square-foot Community Living Center and two separate 80,000-plus-square-feet mental health in-patient and out-patient facilities. The VA Long Beach Healthcare System serves more than 50,000 veterans.
“Since the last time I was out here, so much has been done,” Colloton said. “It’s great to see it so far along and so close to the end. We are getting there. They’re in the final stages of closing things up and making the final finishes to be suitable to move patients and providers in, so it’s exciting to see.”
Colloton, who was at the project site for the groundbreaking ceremony on Veterans Day 2018, said it’s taken a while to reach completion, but once it’s done, it will serve veterans in the area for years to come.
Focusing on taking care of the nation’s veterans by constructing these facilities at the VA is a top priority, and SES Eller said the construction progress has been phenomenal.
“What we’re observing is the partnership continuing to mature – the lessons learned and best practices,” Eller said, noting there are three other VA Community Living Centers and parking structures under construction, using the latest technologies. “At the end of the day, we’re supporting winning by implementing those best practices and delivering for our veterans.”
Baker also noted the amount of progress since his first visit in April 2023, before assuming command of the LA District in July.
“There’s really been a lot of progress,” Baker said. “It’s starting to look like a finished facility. I’m looking forward to getting this great facility into operation, which is a huge improvement to what the veterans on site have now. It’s going to be fabulous.”
The single building that currently houses the VA Long Beach mental health services and the Community Living Center Healthcare System patients is scheduled for demolition after the replacement facilities are fully operational. The $350-million projects are expected to be completed in fiscal year 2024.