The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs announced plans Wednesday to build the first fixed dental clinic in the country on a state veterans home property.

Construction is expected to begin immediately, with completion estimated in the spring of 2018 at the Minneapolis Veterans Home campus, the department said.

Only a portion of veterans are eligible for dental benefits through the VA Health Care System. Veterans must be 100 percent, service-connected disabled through the VA or have a documented dental injury from their time in service. Because of the significant private pay cost, most veterans who live at the Minneapolis Veterans Home rely on other benefits or privately pay for dental services, the department said.

In addition to residents at the Minneapolis home, the clinic is expected to serve residents at the nearby Hastings State Veterans Home and veterans referred through the VA hospital system.

The department is also considering similar projects for veterans homes in Silver Bay, Fergus Falls and Luverne.

Construction will be funded through a $100,000 grant from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, $60,000 from Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund and $50,000 from the Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota Foundation, the department said.

Mark Brunswick