Groundbreaking today for new VA nursing home
by ELSIE HODNETT
Nov 29, 2010 | 5290 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shown is an artist rendering of the new state veterans home to be built in Pell City. The groundbreaking ceremony is today at 1 p.m.
Shown is an artist rendering of the new state veterans home to be built in Pell City. The groundbreaking ceremony is today at 1 p.m.
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PELL CITY — The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded the new VA nursing home project, and the groundbreaking ceremony is taking place today.

“We have selected a company that has the credentials and experience for building a state-of-the-art facility that will serve our veterans well into the 21st century,” said Clyde Marsh, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bid was awarded to Doster Construction Company of Birmingham. Doster was among six other companies to competitively bid on the $41 million project.

“Doster has established an excellent relationship with the VA and has demonstrated its ability to construct first-class facilities for our veterans,” Marsh said.

Robert Horton, public information officer for the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, said Doster built the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs new outpatient clinic that opened recently in Guntersville and was awarded a contract to build another VA clinic in Carbondale, Ill. Doster also oversaw the construction of the Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen retirement community in Birmingham that offers health care services in a neighborhood setting that is similar to the amenities the new veterans home in Pell City will offer.

Doster representatives are expected to attend today’s groundbreaking ceremony at 1 p.m. at Jefferson State Community College’s Pell City campus. The groundbreaking ceremony is open to the public.

“The ceremony will take place under a large tent, rain or shine,” Horton said.

In October, the State Board of Veterans Affairs approved naming the home the “Colonel Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home.” Howard was born in Opelika, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War. Howard is considered one of the nation’s most decorated soldiers.

Horton said the new veterans home will be one of the first in the nation to use a green-house approach in construction, and to move away from the traditional institutional design by offering residents the comforts of home in a community environment while providing for their health care needs.

The home will have 254 private rooms, of which 174 are skilled-care beds and 80 are domiciliary/assisted living units. Veterans will live in neighborhoods that will have two to three houses with 12-14 private rooms, personal bathrooms, and living and dining areas with a complete kitchen for serving meals.

Other features of the home include a community center, a barbershop and salon for both male and female veterans and a sports bar. The home will also have a “Hall of Honor” dedicated to the men and women who have served their nation in uniform.

The new veterans home will be built on a 27-acre site adjacent to Jeff State and the new St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital. Construction of the home is expected to begin by the end of the year and be completed by spring 2012.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.