State Veteran’s Home on track in Walla Walla

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WALLA WALLA — While hurdles remain, state and local Veterans Affairs officials assured a group assembled at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Tuesday that plans for a Washington state Veterans Home are on track.

The nursing home for state resident veterans and their spouses is to be built on the Walla Walla VA campus. Plans include five buildings housing 80 beds, a community center, medical clinic, hair salon and other services.

One residential building with be devoted to people living with memory-loss disorders, said Gary Condra, deputy director for the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

As he and others work toward final grant approvals, designers continue to tweak everything from wall color to staffing models, Condra said.

“We’re trying to make it as close to staying home as possible.”

The new facility is expected to employ about 100 people, including nurses, janitors, chefs and laundry workers, he added. “We are meeting with Walla Walla Community College tomorrow to put together a training program for universal workers.”

Condra and other officials said they expect to put construction bids out in September, with work to begin early next year.

“We’ve been coming here for this for years,” said Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, deputy director of the state Veterans Affairs. “Things are looking a lot closer.”

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

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