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Marina's VA Clinic Officially Opens, Honors Former NPS Dean of Students
U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

Marina's VA Clinic Officially Opens, Honors Former NPS Dean of Students

By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

The Maj. Gen. William H. Gourley VA-DOD Outpatient Clinic in Marina held its grand opening celebration, Aug. 3, with military officials, local leaders, and former congressman Sam Farr on hand to welcome the community to the state-of-the-art facility.

“This is a very significant day in the history of the Monterey Bay area,” said Farr. “We are dedicating a clinic that, for the first time, was built from the bottom up, using veterans in the design of the building. All buildings have a history, and the history starts with the land under it. The history here is this area, first settled by the military.”

When Ft. Ord closed in 1994, the 400-patient, full-service hospital also closed. This created a gap in medical care for service members stationed at Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) and NPS and their families, as well the large populations of local retired veterans.

“This was when Bill Gourley stepped in and said that we have to solve this problem,” said Farr. “What if we use the VA as the civilian entity, and the Army medical at DLI and bring them together. This is where the concept of building this joint clinic started.”

Farr secured federal funding to build the clinic and led the collaboration between the VA, DOD and local governments to complete the outpatient facility.

Sadly, Gourley died in 2008 before ground was broken on the $100-million clinic that bears his name. The three-story, 150,000 square-foot, facility is expected to serve more than 80,000 people when fully operational, with a staff of about 125 including primary care physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, nurse assistants, specialists, administrative personnel, and volunteers.

“This center is going to be able to give a different kind of care to the patient. But it’s also going to be training the medical community of the future of medical care,” concluded Farr. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, those in attendance were able to take self-guided tours and interact with medical professionals ready to answer questions about the clinic.

In addition to the facility’s honor of Gourley, the clinic also recognized NPS alumnus and former Dean of Students, Capt. Alan Poindexter, by naming one its conference rooms in his honor. Poindexter earned a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from NPS in 1995, and was the university’s Dean of Students from 2010-2012. He was selected to serve in NASA's astronaut program in June 1998 and went on to fly two space shuttle missions logging 669 hours in space aboard the Atlantis (STS-122) and the Discovery (STS-131).

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