“We have poured the footing on what we call building four, which is the main entrance way to the facility,” said Kim Justice, veterans home coordinator for the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs. “They have the foundation poured and hope to start on the slab in about another week.”
The $50 million veterans home is on a 27-acre site adjacent to where the St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital is being constructed. The building site is north of Interstate 20, near the Jefferson State Community College campus.
Justice said there are a lot of activities on the veterans home property, with excavating, surveying and the initial foundation work of each building unfolding.
“You will see more and more contract workers on the site as the project progresses,” Justice said.
She said work on the different structures will progress in phases. Construction will progress in a clockwise motion from the main entrance.
“The VA construction team, led by Doster Construction (of Birmingham), has done a good job moving the construction of the new facility forward at a fast rate,” said Don Smith, executive director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council. “Admiral (Clyde) Marsh (commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs) stressed to all parties at the very beginning of the construction process the importance of constant communication and early identification of potential problems. The VA and the Doster Construction team have regular Thursday meetings in the EDC conference room to achieve these goals.”
Justice said Doster Construction Company has worked around recent rains.
“We had a few weather days, but it hadn’t affected the overall project,” she said.
She said it’s amazing to actually walk out on the project site and see how big it actually is.
“It’s exciting to see everything start taking shape,” Justice said. “It’s really exciting to see everything come to life.”
This facility is one of the largest veterans home in Alabama.
“Our biggest facility has 150 beds and doesn’t even have assisted living,” Justice said. “This facility has 174 skilled nursing beds and 80 assisted living beds.”
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the veterans home was held last November.
Local officials say the veterans home will create about 300 jobs.
“They (local officials) are just about as excited about this project as we are,” Justice said.
Justice said the veterans home is expected to be completed by May 2012.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com.