PVA Architecture Case Study: New SCI/D Acute And Long-Term Care Center
VA Medical Center
San Diego, CA

A core part of PVA Architecture’s mission is to ensure that all U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities meet, or more importantly exceed, accessibility standards for wheelchair users and others with mobility impairments—whether or not the facilities serve Veterans with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D). We are involved in all architectural design projects at VA SCI/D Centers from start to finish: reviewing drawings, participating in design meetings, and providing our expertise in SCI/D facility design.

The new SCI/D Acute and Long-Term Care Center in San Diego provides a state-of-the art rehabilitation facility while meeting the ongoing health care needs of Veterans with SCI/D with an emphasis on privacy, security, and non-institutional aesthetic. The new center creates a series of small “houses” that each include 6 to 8 private patient bedrooms, providing a more intimate experience for patients and residents. The houses are centered around nursing care centers and common areas, which provide the opportunity for social interaction and mentoring within a “neighborhood” of houses. 

The new 20 bed Long-Term Care Center begins to address the urgent need of caring for the aging population of Veterans with SCI/D.


  • New 100,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art SCI/D Center.
  • 30 Acute private patient bedrooms. Currently, there are only 4 private patient bedrooms with 20 beds in 4-bed patient bedrooms that share a single patient toilet.
  • 20 Long-Term Care patient beds in private bedrooms.        
  • New adjacent 800-space parking structure includes dedicated parking for Veterans with SCI/D.
  • Scheduled to be completed and ready for occupancy in 2023.

Improvements for Veterans with Disabilities:

  • Improved identity of SCI/D Center with a state-of-the-art facility in a prominent location.
  • Separation of Acute and Long-Term Care Centers and arrangement of patient and resident bedrooms in small groups or neighborhoods provides a home-like environment while reducing institutional stigma.
  • Private patient and resident bedrooms and providing a dedicated patient toilet room for each patient bed improves patient and resident privacy and infection control.
  • Patient and resident bedrooms include large window areas to improve daylight and views to the exterior.
  • Improved supervised and independent rehabilitation therapy areas.
  • New Long-Term Care resident beds (20 – all private) begin to address the underserved community of aging Veterans with SCI/D.
  • Enlarged supervised and independent rehabilitation therapy areas, including large Therapeutic Aquatic Center.
  • Enlarged SCI/D Outpatient Clinic and Urodynamics Clinic.
  • Integration of exterior passive and active recreational areas intended to take advantage of temperate climate.

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With the unique design knowledge of PVA Architects, many public buildings, stadiums, courthouses, memorials, and other structures are made more accessible and enjoyable by the public—providing equal access to all.