The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded the Iowa Veterans Home nearly $530,000 to upgrade two generators and install a transportation center.
IVH Commandant David Worley said the upgrades to the generators needed to be complete by May 15. Those upgrades, he said, were to bring the generators up to new environmental regulations. However, IVH staff took the opportunity also to revamp the system's nearly decade-old programming system since IVH recently built two new buildings.
"That way, the power will be distributed evenly where it is needed," Worley said.
Crews broke ground on the transportation center roughly six weeks ago, Worley said. That building, which is on the compound's north side, will provide a place to house IVH's various vehicles, including its buses and signature white van with the American flag painted on it. The transportation center will also allow staff to do maintenance and wash the vehicles indoors.
Jo Schuda, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said the VA has begun assigning high priority to safety-related projects, which includes upgrades to generators. She said the VA has received 68 applications this fiscal year, and 12 of those projects deal with safety and security.
State and federal tax dollars fund the $815,000 project. Just as with a $24 million grant IVH received earlier this year to renovate the Dack and Malloy buildings, 65 percent of the money comes from the federal government.
Worley said he appreciates the support of state legislators who give the green light to the state providing the remaining 35 percent money.
Both Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, issued press releases Wednesday applauding the grant.
Worley said work on the transportation center is slated for completion in late October or early November.