Former KMart Set to be New VA Clinic

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The new home for a VA clinic in Dubuque has been chosen at 2600 Dodge Street in Dubuque. The former KMart has been vacant for about one year, but now construction on the clinic is set to begin as early as next month.

The new location would mean a quick check up for some veterans in the tri-state area, instead of spending a day traveling to and from Iowa City.

Architects are already creating designs for the outside and inside of the building.

Currently for some veterans in northeast Iowa, they describe their current check ups in Iowa City as all day events, but with a new clinic coming to Dubuque, it provides them a convenient resource to healthcare.

"I'm excited about it, I'll probably use it," said John Zeimet, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and the Commander for the American Legion Post 6 in Dubuque. "I know a lot of guys that do go to Iowa City for various things and what I like about it- it's also going to be a wellness clinic where guys can get checkups. It'll be a great thing."

The minimum size for a clinic like this is 22,000 square feet- but this clinic could end up being much larger than that when it opens in June 2019.

Before any groundbreaking can take place, now it must be determined what exactly the clinic will offer inside.

The former garden center will turn into an entrance way. The former auto service area and vacant lot will be paved into parking lots.

But what matters most is what will go inside. Those involved say the next steps are to turn a 60-year-old retail space into a fully functional medical clinic, with the features veterans want the most.

"With this location we either get an audiology booth or the van will come here more than once a week or maybe once a month to actually help veterans get the hearing aids that they need," said Randy Rennison, Executive Director for the Dubuque County Veterans Affairs Commission.

With all of the features being considered, the clinic could end up being much more than the minimum 22,000 square feet. Exact details are still being determined as the VA and architects work together, but based on initial discussions, it could mean the new clinic could be more than 30,000 square feet.