VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
VAGLAHS Executes Lease for Wadsworth Chapel Renovation
January 19, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VAGLAHS Executes Lease with Wadsworth Chapel Heritage Partners for Wadsworth Chapel Renovation
LOS ANGELES – VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) announces the execution of a lease with Wadsworth Chapel Heritage Partners (WCHP) to fund, design, preserve, and restore the historic Wadsworth Chapel, the oldest and one of the most iconic landmarks on Wilshire Boulevard.
The finalization of the lease followed a fair and open competitive process and supports VA’s work to transform the VA West Lost Angeles Campus into a vibrant community where Veterans can receive healthcare, benefits, employment, and other supportive services as envisioned by the Draft Master Plan, which was adopted by the Secretary of the Veterans Administration in 2016.
Built in 1900, the Wadsworth Chapel is the oldest standing building on Wilshire Boulevard and was originally constructed to provide a place of worship for the residents of the Old Soldiers’ Home. The Wadsworth Chapel housed two separate chapels, one for Protestants and one for Catholics, with distinct entrances under one roof, and was previously used for religious services, weddings, substance abuse counseling, and funeral services until the 1971 Sylmar earthquake rendered the Chapel unusable.
“The historic Wadsworth Chapel is truly the heart and spiritual core of the WLA Campus. While time will be required to develop, execute, and complete the renovation due to material condition, complexity, and stakeholder interests, VA and the WCHP are eager to proceed expeditiously and restore the Wadsworth Chapel to its former glory, ensuring VA does right by its Veterans, taxpayers, and community,” said Dr. Steven Braverman, Director, VAGLAHS.
The Wadsworth Chapel was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1972 and is still largely intact, containing may of its original elements. Once restored, the Wadsworth Chapel will provide services that principally benefit Veterans and their families, including services for the purpose of the promotion of health and wellness, including nutrition and spiritual wellness.
The Lease is for a 20-year initial term, with three additional 10-year option terms at VA’s discretion. The WCHP will be responsible for restoration and historic preservation of the Wadsworth Chapel, and to provide services that principally benefit Veterans and their families.
“This lease allows us to move forward to finally restore this sacred Wadsworth Chapel building- a beacon of hope for Veterans everywhere and all who honor their sacrifice. It also honors Carolina Barrie, descendent of the family who originally gifted this campus, who has fought for decades to do right by our Veterans. Carolina passed away on April 29, 2020, but she is and forever will be a part of this land. And her daughter Christine Barrie, WCHP / 1887 Fund Board President, is committed to restoring the Wadsworth Chapel to create a center for “moral injury”. A place for Veterans and their families to gather. A place to call Home," said Wadsworth Chapel Heritage Partners in a joint statement.
ABOUT VAGLAHS: VAGLAHS is one component of the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN22) offering services to Veterans residing in Southern California. VAGLAHS consists of two ambulatory care centers, a tertiary care facility and 9 community-based outpatient clinics. VAGLAHS serves Veterans residing throughout five counties: Kern, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. There are approximately 1.4 million Veterans in the VAGLAHS service area. For more information, call (310) 268-3340 or visit us at www.losangeles.va.gov. Veterans in need can call the VA hotline toll-free at 877-4-AID-VET.
ABOUT THE DRAFT MASTER PLAN: The 388-acre WLA Campus supports one of the largest, most complex medical centers in the VA system. In this capacity, the campus provides Veterans with access to a full continuum of healthcare services in a range of treatment environments including hospital, residential, long-term, and various outpatient settings. By virtue of the campus’s origins and of more recent litigation and legislation, VA is legally obligated to co-locate supportive housing with the WLA hospital to improve healthcare access and outcomes for homeless and severely disabled Veterans. VA is in the midst of implementing a Draft Master Plan to revitalize the WLA Campus into a thriving community for homeless and other at-risk Veterans and their families. VA also has plans to replace the main WLA hospital, outpatient buildings, research facilities, and is negotiating with the LA Metropolitan Transit System (LA Metro) regarding an extension of the Purple Line light rail system from downtown LA to the WLA Campus.
ABOUT WADSWORTH CHAPEL HERITAGE PARTNERS: Wadsworth Chapel Heritage Partners (WCHP) is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation, whose governing board consists of representatives from: the 1887 Fund, U.S. Vets, Thomas Safran and Associates, Inc., and Century Housing. WCHP leadership includes the Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Vets, a non-profit organization providing housing, employment, and counseling services to Veterans across the country. The 1887 Fund is a non-profit organization led by the descendants of Arcadia Bandini de Baker, who along with Senator John P. Jones donated 300 acres of land in Los Angeles to form the Pacific Branch of the National Home in 1887. U.S. Vets, Thomas Safran & Associates and Century Housing are members of the West Los Angeles Veterans Collective team planning Enhanced Use Leases for permanent supportive housing for Veterans on the VA WLA Campus. To learn more about each member of WCHP, visit 1887Fund.org, USVets.org, TSAHousing.org, and Century.org.