Facility for veterans opens in Old Town: Aspire Center is first of Its kind

SAN DIEGO - After years of negotiation and construction, the doors to the Aspire Center were finally opened, but not without issue.

"Frankly, the concern was a mental health facility located across the street from schoolchildren," said Casey Murphy, a parent of a sixth grader at Old Town Academy.  

Aspire Center is a first for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The facility will temporarily house veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury for treatment.

Debbie Dominick is the director for the center.  

"We had meeting after meeting with the school and neighbors," Dominick said. "We never saw this as either-or but a partnership."

The center agreed to post two security guards during school hours, tint the windows of rooms that face the school and create a neighborhood advisory group.

"This group is proactive, so if there's an issue we want to keep it low-key and solve it," said Ainsle Kraeck, a member of the group.

Murphy is also a member of the group and said it really came down to communicating with one another.

"You can't get over it if you don't talk, so monthly we talk and everyone feels a lot better," she said. 

While the doors to the center are open, veterans will not begin to move in until next week.

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