VA clinic construction continues on schedule in Presque Isle

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Four months after ground was broken, 732 Main St. in Presque Isle now has a structure for what will become the new VA treatment facility.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused countless disruptions to building projects all over the United States, but the construction of the new VA clinic in Presque Isle is on schedule to finish next spring, according to Roger Felix, Veteran Advisory Board member for the new facility.

On July 7, local Veterans met with Tracye B. Davis, Veterans Administration Maine Healthcare System medical center director, in Presque Isle for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site which will be the new community based out-patient clinic at 732 Main St.

Currently, builders are completing work on the building’s exterior. The structure has a framework  and walls, but no interior work has begun yet. 

The Presque Isle facility is set to replace the existing VA facility in Caribou. Along with being a larger size, the new facility will expand on all the features the Caribou facility offers, which include primary and specialty care, dermatology and mental health services. 

“Due to the clinic being centrally located, it will help patients with needs for specialized medicine,” Felix said. “This will eliminate the need for patients to make trips down to Augusta for specialized care. Now it will be so much closer and convenient.”

“Some people don’t like to travel, but if it’s there, I’ll go,” said Fort Kent Marine Corps veteran John Bouchard. “I can’t speak for all veterans, but I know I’ll go.”

Aroostook County’s total population is 11.3 percent veterans, placing the total number of veterans in the county at more than 6,000, which is about 6 percent of the total veteran population in Maine, according to Census reports.

The new facility will be 8000 square feet, which is 50 percent larger than the Caribou facility, allowing a greater number of patients to be assisted, according to Felix. 

The Caribou facility has been able to give appointments steadily to those who need them, with 90 percent of veterans reporting that they could get an appointment when they needed one, according to the VA website. With a larger facility with more staff in Presque Isle, that number could potentially see an increase.

“It’s great to see that people are investing into the community in order to better address veterans’ medical needs,” Felix said.

The new clinic is set to be completed in spring of 2022. More information can be found on the VA website.

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