Comment sought ahead of construction at VA

Work soon will begin on a treatment center and outpatient clinic. Other maintenance projects are also in the works.

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WALLA WALLA - It's nearly time for the earth to move at Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center as long-awaited construction nears.

Before the shovels hit ground midsummer, however, officials are looking for community input at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m.

"This is the opportunity for public comment," noted Brian Westfield, director of the Walla Walla VA. "This is about construction. We'll be presenting what the plan is, the time frames … the contractor is on the clock and jumping at the bit to get going."

The meeting will also address plans regarding the historical buildings and any American Indian artifacts on the VA campus, as well, Westfield said. "We have a curation agreement in place to manage and handle any significant findings. We're working with the tribes relative to any Native American historical significance."

People are likely to be curious about the planned residential substance abuse treatment center and the outpatient clinic will look and what services will be provided, he added. "This is their chance to ask questions. We'll also have a box and card if they are uncomfortable asking them in a public setting."

Anticipated one-time maintenance projects, including parking lot improvements and emergency steam line repairs, will be discussed along with a look at anticipated future projects.

Westfield, representatives from the VA central office, building contractors and the Veterans Integrated Service Network will be present to field questions.

The meeting will be at Building 78, in the campus theater. For more information, call 509-525-5200, ext. 22811.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.

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