LEO A DALY-designed VA Ambulatory Care Center opens in Omaha

Ripple Effect

LEO A DALY-designed VA Ambulatory Care Center opens in Omaha

The western facade of the Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center is clad in colorful glass panes reminiscent of military color bars. (AJ Brown Photography/ ©LEO A DALY)

LEO A DALY has revealed the newly opened Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center, a 160,000-square-foot outpatient healthcare facility erected on what was once an old surface parking lot for the Omaha Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Up until this landmark $86 million project—three years in the making with construction kicking off in May off last year—came along, the center was perhaps best known for once having a hush-hush nuclear reactor in its basement (the only one of its kind found in an American hospital) that was operational from the late 1950s through 2001, and dismantled several year ago.

With the completion of the state-of-the-art ambulatory care hub, Omaha’s VA Medical Center is back in the news for decidedly less furtive reasons. Featuring eight primary care clinics including one exclusively for women veterans, a multifaceted specialty care clinic, and an outpatient surgery suite that are spread across three floors, the project is the first private partnership-funded VA healthcare facility to be completed since the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed (CHIP IN) for Vets Act was passed by Congress in 2016. In total, $30 million in private contributions were raised by Omaha-based foundation Heritage Services to complete the center, with the remaining funds coming from federal coffers.

The expansive new facility’s northern facade is meant to resemble a flag rippling in the wind. (AJ Brown Photography/ ©LEO A DALY)

The center is equipped to handle 400 patients per day in a growing metro region with the largest population of veterans, approximately 4,000, in the Cornhusker State.

LEO A DALY served as lead architect, engineer, and interior designer for the project, an interdisciplinary undertaking that’s singular design showcases “unique expressions of freedom, sacrifice, honor and duty,” per a press statement released by the Omaha-headquartered global firm founded in 1915. Most notable is a 120,000-square-foot folded glass curtain “flag wall” that runs the entire length of the building’s north side and creates a sort of undulating effect reminiscent of a flag flapping in the wind. The center’s kaleidoscopic western facade, clad in polychrome glazed panels, is intended to bring a sense of playfulness and light to the affair while also evoking the colorful ribbon bars that don the uniforms of military personnel.

Omaha VA Ambulatory Care
A long, colorful passageway connects the ambulatory care center with the main VA hospital. (AJ Brown Photography/ ©LEO A DALY)
Evening view of the new Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center. (AJ Brown Photography/ ©LEO A DALY)

As the firm notes, both of the facility’s expansive glazed walls allow for abundant natural daylighting to flood the building’s interior, which was designed by LEO A DALY to “foster feelings of comfort, refuge and reflection.” In addition to the aforementioned clinics and services housed within the center, the facility also features an outdoor healing garden, a new ground-level connecting corridor to the existing 12-story hospital that’s clad in stained glass, and a plethora of specially commissioned art, much of it created by veteran-artists.

Omaha VA Ambulatory Care
Aerial view of the Omaha VA Center campus with the main hospital building behind the new ambulatory care center. (AJ Brown Photography/ ©LEO A DALY)

“Everything about this project is a love letter to America’s veterans. We are honored to be a part of it,” said John Andrews, vice president and healthcare practice leader at LEO A DALY, in a statement when the building’s design was completed.