San Diego council approves VA Center to treat PTSD
The San Diego City Council on Tuesday voted 7-0 to authorize a 40-bed facility in the Old Town neighborhood to be run by the Department of Veterans Affairs to treat Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The vote came as the VA and officials of a free charter school across the street from the proposed site announced agreement on several issues to resolve concerns by school parents that the facility could pose a danger to students.
The council last month had delayed voting on the project so negotiations could continue.
The VA agreed, among other things, to enhance security measures at the facility, which is slated to open in spring 2013. Two security guards will be on duty at the VA center whenever the Old Town Academy, a K-8 school across the street, is in session.
A protocol was established for warning the school whenever there is a potentially disruptive incident at the treatment facility, officials said.
The VA's Aspire Center will be housed in the former Thomas Jefferson School of Law building. One in five Afghanistan and Iraq veterans treated by the VA in San Diego has been diagnosed with PTSD, officials said.
Jeffrey Gering, medical center director with the VA San Diego Healthcare System, said the new treatment center will help the VA "continue to be a leader in the treatment of PTSD."
A spokesman for Old Town Academy said that officials are "confident the VA is genuinely interested in being a good neighbor to the school."
--Tony Perry in San Diego