Fate of VA Hospital to Be Announced

The fate of the Gulfport Veterans Hospital will be announced Friday afternoon.

The Highway 90 facility is one of three VA centers expected to close, but Thursday officials at the medical facility they hadn't received the official word.

The Veterans Affairs Department undertook a restructuring two years ago to shift services to areas where veteran populations are increasing, modernize outdated buildings and to shed vacant space.

The Gulfport VA was built in the 1930's, and is dangerous in some parts.

The Gulfport hospital is a part of the VA health network, which includes the veterans hospital in Biloxi and eight other VA hospitals in the South.

As part of the revamping, the department wants to build new rehabilitation centers for the blind in Biloxi and Long Beach, Calif., and place new spinal cord centers in Minneapolis, New York and Arkansas.

The department of veterans affairs and local V-A leaders will hold a news conference at 1:30 Friday afternoon at the Biloxi V-A.

The nation has about 25 million veterans, with more than 7 million enrolled in VA health care.

The VA expects to reduce costs for maintaining vacant space from $3.4 billion to $750 million by 2022 but projects spending $6 billion on new construction during that time.