$3.75M on its way to VA center, but when?

The local Veterans Affairs Medical Center is slated to receive nearly $4 million in federal funds, but one official with the center said he isn’t sure when those funds are coming.

Paul Sweeney, spokesman for the Grand Junction VA Medical Center, said he has not received official word that the hospital is receiving $3.75 million in federal funds, despite an announcement Wednesday in Washington, D.C., that the Grand Junction VA hospital is eligible for federal money for improvements.

Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet jointly announced the Grand Junction VA hospital was receiving $3.75 million as part of President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed Feb. 17.

“I’m quite sure either senator wouldn’t have made a statement like that if it wasn’t going to happen,” Sweeney said.

The local VA hospital has a list of items it would like to address if the $3.75 million comes its way, Sweeney said. Among the priorities are an upgrade of heating and cooling systems in parts of the hospital, as well as underground electrical upgrades.

“Quality care is more than quality staff, which we have,” Sweeney said. “It’s a quality environment.”

A renovation of the staff locker rooms would be in order, he added.

The news release from the senators specifically laid out how the local VA would spend the federal funds.

According to the release, the Grand Junction VA hospital would use $750,000 each for the installation of a solar photovoltaic array system; renovation of employee locker rooms; renovation of patient/visitor restrooms; replacement of two air-handling units; and replacement of underground electrical feeds.

The Denver VA Medical Center and the veterans nursing home in Walsenburg are slated to receive a combined $7.1 million, according to the news release.


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