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Completion of Cleveland's Tennessee State Veterans' Home delayed by supply chain issues
Chattanooga Times Free Press - 7/2/2022
Jul. 2—Supply chain issues have put the $47.9 million Tennessee State Veterans' Home in Cleveland, Tennessee, about a month behind its hoped-for completion date of June 30, and about 60 people are already on the waiting list, according to state officials.
"We anticipate the construction to be substantially complete around July 30," Tennessee Department of General Services spokesperson Michelle Brinson said by email. "Unfortunately, we continue to encounter supply chain issues, which have impacted our progress in several critical areas," Brinson said. "We are working closely with the contractor to work through these challenges. We remain hopeful that without any additional issues, we can meet the July 30 date."
The 108-bed, single-story, "modern-rustic" home on almost 28 acres on Westland Drive is a short drive to medical centers in Cleveland and Chattanooga and features private rooms with shared common areas that have ceiling-high stone fireplaces and cozy dining spaces. A state-of-the-art therapy gym and courtyards with views of a wooded ridge and old farm pasture are among its features.
There are six houses consisting of 18 bedrooms in each one, and the houses share some common areas, according to officials with Tennessee State Veterans' Homes Board.
The houses are connected in a duplex configuration with common areas shared by the two houses within each duplex.
Residents of the house share a small kitchen area called a "servery" where food from the main kitchen in the community center is served. A dining room is on either side of the servery, and there are large, two-sided fireplaces in each of the living rooms that separate the living room from the dining room.
Each duplex will be served by a neighborhood center containing support spaces such as a kitchen, medication rooms, clean and soiled utility rooms, staff lockers and staff offices, according to officials.
The community center consists of a reception area, great room, bistro, therapy gym, barber/beauty shop, chapel, activity room and support services such as laundry and a main kitchen, officials said. Staff offices and a conference room are also located in the community center.
Outdoor spaces include a covered outdoor kitchen, a therapy trail with multiple walking surfaces and an outdoor dining area attached to the bistro. Each duplex has an outdoor courtyard with furnishings, officials said.
Officials broke ground Aug. 21, 2019, on the home funded in part by a $30.5 millionU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant approved by the state building commission, according to officials. The state put $10 million into the project, the city of Cleveland and Bradley County each donated more than $2 million, and an anonymous donation of $3 million topped off local fundraising by the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council.
The families of Steve Williams, Thomas Williams and Robert Wright donated the land for the facility in 2010. Nearly 50,000 veterans live in the six-county area to be served by the home in Cleveland.
"I am happy to see construction is continuing to progress," state Veterans' Home Executive Director Ed Harries said in an emailed statement. "Our team continues to make preparations for opening the home, and we hope to begin bringing some nursing staff on board in the coming weeks. We look forward to having a beautiful new facility for the veterans of Southeast Tennessee to receive the care they deserve."
Local veterans are already looking for space, according to state Veterans' Home spokesperson Melanie Cook.
"We currently have approximately 60 people on the waiting list," Cook said Wednesday in an email.
"Individuals interested in being added to the waiting list can go to our website at tsvh.org/cleveland and complete the wait list request form," she said. "Once the form is completed, a representative from the Tennessee State Veterans' Homes will contact them to officially add them to the waiting list."
Those seeking a place on the list should know being added to the waiting list does not guarantee admission into the home, Cook said.
Eligibility is based on a few factors.
"The individual must be considered in need of a nursing home level of care. This is determined by the individual's doctor and our clinical team," she said. "They also must be a veteran who was honorably discharged or a spouse/gold-star parent of an honorably discharged veteran."
The person seeking a place at the home must also meet at least one of the following requirements:
— Resident of Tennessee at the time of admission.
— Veteran who was born in Tennessee.
— Entered the U.S. Armed Forces in Tennessee.
— Tennessee address is official home of record on veteran's military record.
— Has an immediate family member who serves as the primary caregiver and is a resident of Tennessee.
Cook said veterans and their families should understand that even when the project is substantially complete on July 30, the facility will not immediately begin admissions.
"We still have much to do before we can accept our first residents," she said.
The home's remaining to-do list will include hiring and training staff, safety inspections, moving in, furniture and other final details, she said.
"Once we have a grand opening date, it will be publicly announced," she said.
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.
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