Soldiers, their families and veterans near Fort Leonard Wood will have a new place to receive medical care. 

Construction on a $400 million, 400,000-square-foot hospital and clinic officially started Monday.

The current General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital is 55 years old, past its intended service life. The building suffers from a leaky roof and utilities that struggle to keep pace with increasing demands. 

It was built before MRI machines were widely available, so its machines are off-site because they won’t fit in the building. 

“We’ve had to deal with the door freezing shut during ice storms,” said Col. Kimberlie Biever, the hospital’s commander. “Despite challenges, our staff provided excellent service and put patients first.”

The new hospital will have other advantages.

“It will be more efficient in terms of function, Biever said. “It will be more cost effective to maintain, and it will be a beautiful facility where people want to work and where our patients will be welcomed in a therapeutic environment.”

The new hospital is part of the military’s long-term commitment to healthcare, said Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle, surgeon general of the Army, who was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Today we affirm that enduring care for our soldiers, their families, and all the beneficiaries will always be provided in the best facility,” Dingle said.

The project will also be an economic boon to the region, providing jobs for more than 4,000 workers over four years. The new hospital will serve the soldiers and families who live on post and more than 30,000 veterans who live within 30 miles.

The new hospital is scheduled to open in the fall of 2024.

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