Increased construction and labor costs have necessitated adjustments to the design of the proposed Minnesota Veterans Home in Montevideo. Officials from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) visited Montevideo on Tuesday to update local officials on the changes, as well as the status of the Federal funding application.
Design changes include the use of more economical materials for roofing and countertops, and the elimination of the front entrance canopy, playground, picnic shelter, and maintenance building.
Marv Garbe, Montevideo Veterans Home Committee Chair, said the primary goal is to ensure that veterans are well cared for. Despite the reductions, the spaces that will be used most frequently by future residents – the private rooms, bathrooms, and family gathering rooms – were maintained.
MDVA officials acknowledged the tremendous support from the community to date. Ongoing community donations may support the addition of amenities removed during the budget reduction process.
Planning Team Optimistic About Federal Funding Request
In March of this year, MDVA submitted an application for Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; that funding will not be confirmed until early 2020.
While Federal funds are not guaranteed, there is continued optimism among the planning team. “The process is on track,” said MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke. “We look forward to approval of our Federal funding request and breaking ground on this new veterans home next year.”
If funding is approved in early 2020, the project’s tentative timeline includes construction beginning in mid-2020 and the new home opening in early 2022.
MDVA Deputy Commissioner of Veterans Healthcare Douglas Hughes noted that staffing the new home will be a priority as construction is completed. All staff will be State of Minnesota employees who receive competitive pay and generous benefits. About six months prior to opening, hiring will begin for leadership positions, and more than 150 employees will be hired in total.