VERO BEACH — The Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast wants to lease 10 acres from the Indian River County Hospital District to build an operations facility and later, a stand-alone medical education and training center.
The land is north of VNA’s Hospice House at 901 37th St., which is built on 14 acres leased from the Hospital District for $1 per year.
Hospital District trustees unanimously approved a letter of intent Wednesday about the land lease, which would be combined with the current lease for the 14 acre Hospice House site.
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The agreement still needs to be drafted and approved by the Hospital District, the VNA and the VNA & Hospice Foundation board.
The VNA plans to build a 45,000-square-foot, three-story operations center that would consolidate home health, private nursing, community health and wellness and hospice into one central location. There would also be office space set aside for the Hospital District if they want to relocate when their lease expires in 2024.
The district has office space at 3730 Seventh Terrace, the corner of 37th Street and Indian River Boulevard, and will be moving to an office in downtown Vero Beach next month.
Lundy Fields, VNA’s president and CEO, said while the new operations building is the VNA’s most pressing need and primary focus, the agency also wants to build an adjacent 10,000-square-foot medical education and training center that would be connected with a walkway to the VNA operations building.
“We’re going to push really hard to get this medical education and training center alongside the operations building,” said Fields. “The idea is to have a world class training center with the best and the latest in technology and communications so we can beam in anyone from around the world to do professional training and the latest procedures from a medical perspective."
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He said he envisions that space being open to all the community partners and to have events, community training, caregiver conferences,and other things that could take place in the community center.
Hospital District Chairwoman Marybeth Cunningham said she has discussed the possible lease with Cleveland Clinic-Indian River Hospital and they are supportive of what the VNA is proposing for the site.
“But their preference is for the district to keep ownership of the land,” said Cunningham. “Their concern is somewhere down the road, a competitor could go to the VNA and try to purchase the the land.”
The VNA still needs to raise money for the construction of both the operations building and the training center. Cost estimates to construct both buildings are $12 million to $15 million.
Construction would not start until 2022 for the operations building and could take up to three years to complete. The medical education and training center construction would not start until additional money is raised, Fields said.
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