BOISE, Idaho — Keeping up with the growing veteran population in Southwest Idaho has become quite a challenge for the Boise V.A. Medical Center.
The Boise V.A. has seen an 8% increase in primary care over the previous year.
"As you look around the campus just about every building has had some degree of renovation or expansion," Director David Wood says.
Wood has seen plenty of change over the years, including the new Woman's Wellness Center on campus.
About seven years ago, the V.A. management team interviewed female veterans about why many were not going to the original clinic, and more importantly, why they weren't signing up for V.A. benefits.
"What the woman told us is we want a stand alone clinic, we want someplace where we can bring our children to, that we feel welcome and safe," registered nurse Beth Pierce explains. "We want a clinic that's essentially pleasing, that doesn't look like army barracks."
Another area where Director Woods is proud of is the new cardiac cath lab.
The Boise V.A. treated 400 veterans this last year, meaning 400 veterans were able to have their heart disease diagnosed and treated.
One area Wood and his staff have heard so many complaints about was parking. As a matter of fact, Doug Lamb the chief engineer at the Medical Center said they had veterans circling the grounds looking for parking spaces, but a unique looking garage that holds more than 220 parking spots seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
"Quite the process; took a lot of effort by the contractor to dig away the dirt, they had to stabilize the soil behind to make sure the hillside doesn't crush the parking garage," Wood said. "So it's nailed into the hillside from keeping the hill from putting pressure on the garage."
So what does the future hold?
History may be kind to the Medical Center, in the form of property that once served as the marching grounds back in the 1880's. Wood says they are looking at putting a primary care building that will help with the growth and expansion.