New DVA facility could help
Emory's child care crunch

Emory's ongoing efforts to expand child care options for employees and students could benefit from a planned regional office building by the Department of Veteran's Affairs (DVA).

Jeff Sage, chief of facilities management with Atlanta's DVA office, said that efforts are being made to include a child care center in the planned office building. Such a center would be available to employees of the adjacent Veteran's Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and to the Emory employees who are housed there. Whether a child care center will be included will not be known until the project design is completed in September.

The project is the result of a unique public/private partnership that will allow the DVA to have a new facility for less money ($7 per square foot) and in a much shorter period of time than if the federal government built the project on its own. A private developer for the project should be selected by April or May, Sage said. Although the building will be privately owned initially, it will revert to DVA ownership after 35 years.

The new building will allow the DVA to provide "one-stop shopping" for veterans, who will be able to receive both medical treatment and a full range of benefits services in one location. This goal was first articulated by DVA Commissioner Pete Wheeler in 1994, explained Sage.

Approximately 500 employees from the DVA and other veteran's organizations will occupy about half the building, while private businesses will occupy the other half. Although the design has not been finalized, Sage expects the building to be six or seven stories and contain 300,000 to 400,000 square feet. The project's final budget has not yet been determined. The building will be constructed on Clairmont Road adjacent to the new parking lot just north of the VAMC. A new traffic signal has been installed at the parking lot.

A study will be conducted to assess the project's impact on Clairmont Road traffic. The new study will likely confirm the results of earlier studies, said Sage, who added that that the new traffic light at the VAMC lot should help alleviate traffic problems for VAMC staff and Emory employees who park there.

The project design is expected to be completed by September, with groundbreaking likely to follow in October or November. The building should be completed about a year later, Sage said.

-Dan Treadaway

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