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1,500+ turn out for new Fort Bliss hospital job fair

KTSM
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POSTED: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 10:55pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 9:00am

Dawn Marie Villone was one of 1,500+ jobseekers at El Paso's County Coliseum Wednesday, all with résumés in hand, all ready to build a hospital.

"I saw so many opportunities that I thought, 'If I miss any of them, it will be a shame,’" Villone said.

Texas Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande organized the fair to fill 1,200-1,500 construction positions open for work on the new Fort Bliss hospital that will replace William Beaumont Army Medical Center.

The $648 million 1.1 million square foot medical campus will be built off of Loop 375 and Spur 601 in East El Paso with a completion date slated for November 2016.

“It’s an exciting time,” WBAMC Commander COL Michael Heimall told NewsChannel 9.

Heimall, who spoke about the new hospital at a business symposium in downtown El Paso Wednesday morning, gave a glimpse of what the future may hold for the current Beaumont hospital building.

Heimall said once the new east side hospital is operational, the Veterans Affairs clinic attached to the Beaumont complex will absorb 80,000 square feet of the older hospital facility.

As for the rest of the 12-floor 750,000 Beaumont tower, Heimall said no other decisions have been made.

The Commander said the move to the new medical campus would take a year and a lot of work from WBAMC staff.

“They’re going to move to a building that’s new from a building that will be 42 or 45 years old by the time we move out,” Heimall said.

El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D) also attended Wednesday’s symposium.

He told NewsChannel 9 he would like to see the older Beaumont building turned into a full-service veterans hospital or a behavioral health center.

“Perhaps, there’s some way we can leverage these two building to sure we can take care not only active duty soldiers…but fully take care of out veterans who’ve sacrificed so much for this country,” O’Rourke said.

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