WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected the construction contractor to build a research office building at the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center on University Drive.

“This new building will provide state-of-the-art research facilities that will support our mission to ensure our veterans receive the health care and benefits they have earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The $27.33 million contract for construction services was awarded to PJ Dick Inc. of Pittsburgh on April 6. Construction is scheduled to begin in late spring with an estimated completion date of October 2013.

The contract calls for construction of a three-story, 100,000-square-foot building that includes office, laboratory, and support spaces. It also includes a helipad on the roof for emergency patient transport to the adjacent hospital. In addition, 82 parking spaces will be added to the south and west sides of the building.

The project will require the demolition of four existing buildings at the site. A Fisher House will be built next to the research building.

The research building is part of the Pittsburgh VA CARES Consolidation, one of the largest VA infrastructure improvement projects in the nation. Once all functions are transitioned to the new, consolidated location, the current VA campus on Highland Drive will close. The University Drive campus and Heinz VA Center campus will continue to serve the veterans in the Pittsburgh area.

In addition to the research building, a mental health pavilion is under construction and a parking garage has been completed at University Drive. An ambulatory care center, administration building, and domiciliary have been constructed at the Heinz VA Center in Aspinwall. The total cost of all improvements is $295 million.

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