VA christens parking garage

New $9 million structure adds 171 spaces at medical center

Marc Magill, right, director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, speaks during Monday’s ribbon cutting for the new $9 million parking structure on the hospital’s campus. The 42,718-square-foot structure adds 171 parking spaces to the medical center and allows for the addition of two more stories should the need arise.

It took about two years, more than $9 million and the excavation of around 300 yards of contaminated soil, but a two-story parking garage at the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center is complete, providing some much-needed additional spaces for hospital customers.

The new 43,000-square-foot structure at the medical center, 2121 North Ave., adds 171 spaces to the total number available around the regional medical center for veterans — roughly 65 more than administrators initially said were needed to stay ahead of current demand, medical center director Marc Magill said.

“When we were planning the project, our study showed we were 107 parking spaces short. This building has 171 parking spaces and should take us at least five years into the future,” Magill said during a dedication ceremony Monday that drew a small gathering of hospital administrators, builders and veterans.

Third and fourth stories to be added in the coming years will eventually double the number of spaces available in the garage.

As is typical with many new developments, the parking garage project presented a few obstacles to overcome, Magill said. The first, and probably the biggest, arose not long after Sept. 25, 2014, the day ground was broken at the site.

“Progress (on the garage) was amazingly quick, but … there were a few unexpected challenges,” he said. “Chief among them was a fuel bloom from an old gas station across the street that required removal and backfill of more than 300 square yards of contaminated soil.”

Early on in the excavation, primary contractor Povolny Group — working with FCI Constructors and Skyline Contracting — uncovered the large plume of petroleum waste products in the soil, said Tom Ware of Cedaredge, construction manager for Povolny.

“We determined after some research that they had an existing issue from across the street,” Ware said. “There was a gas station there at one time and petroleum had migrated (under North Avenue), which needed to be mitigated, and that cost us some time.”

Schedule delays caused by the work needed to remove polluted soil complicated staging for the project, Ware said. Work on water lines along North Avenue, plus the start of construction on a new rehabilitation center next to the garage, contributed to potential logistical delays, most of which were overcome thanks to VA engineers, Ware said.

“I take my hat off to the VA engineering department here — great bunch of people to be working with,” Ware said, offering special thanks to project manager John Bartman. Without him, the project could have been much more difficult, Ware said.

One of many positive developments from the project was the amount of work that went to local contractors.

“I have to take a moment to commend our general contractor for ensuring as much of that $9 million flowed into the local economy,” Magill said.

A “teaming effort” between Povolny and FCI was launched at the start of the project with that specific goal in mind, Ware said.

In addition to Skyline Contracting, which excavated and prepared the site, FCI hired Mays Concrete to pour most of the cement for the structure, he said. EC Electric and Cookey’s Mechanical were also involved in completion of the project, Ware said.

“That’s important for the local economy itself,” he said. “But for a company like Povolny, which is relatively new to the Western Slope, it’s our belief … if we get an opportunity to work in an area, let’s work with as many local people as we can.”


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