Plans For New State-Run Veterans Home Still Awaiting Federal Funding

Mar 24, 2020

Credit Catherine Wheeler

A group of state agencies have been working for years to acquire funding to build a state-run skilled nursing facility for veterans. Now, Wyoming's application is in the final stretch.

The Wyoming Department of Health, State Construction Department and the Wyoming Veterans Commission have been working to secure grant funding from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs to the proposed facility.

Ryan Scranton, project manager with the State Construction Department, said they are finishing up Level III designs for the building. That includes building design, structure and engineering.

The facility will be home-like. There will be shared living space with each resident having their own room. Scranton said it's similar to living in a large house.

Those plans will be wrapped up at the end of March. But they are still waiting to hear if funding is available from the VA.

"The promise could be there, that it's funded. Then we will bid it and receive the bids," he said.

Once they find out of funding is available, then the state will submit all plans and documents for consideration, including a financial agreement between the state and the VA.

"All of our requirements are due June 30th. And then should the funding be available, we would know after that MOU is reviewed and approved post-June 30th," he said.

In 2019, the legislature agreed to support 35 percent of the cost for building.

Scranton said if the federal funding is approved, they could start construction by August or September.

Wyoming is the only state in the country without a state-run skilled nursing facility for veterans. This proposed facility would be a higher level of care than veterans can receive at the Veterans' Home of Wyoming in Buffalo. That facility is similar to an assisted living center.

The proposed facility will be on the same grounds as the existing veterans' home, which will allow veterans to have a continuity of care between facilities.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.