G.I. Group Releases Plan For Veterans Home - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

G.I. Group Releases Plan For Veterans Home

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Losing a bid for a new Veterans Home isn't stopping Grand Islanders from drawing up plans for a new facility.

The Alternate Proposal Committee released their plans for what a new facility in G.I. would look like.

The drawings follow a plan already sent to federal veteran officials earlier this year - a move Governor Dave Heineman has said could jeopardize funding for any home.

Gary Purvis remembers watching veterans sitting on the porch of what was then called the Soldiers and Sailors home.

"When I found out that they were going to tear down all the old buildings it just really hurt me," he said.

The retired construction estimator and former Army drill sergeant got to work on plans for a new Grand Island Veterans Home.

"In my mind it's a very workable solution with a lot less expense," he said.

Purvis said his plan costs $50 million less than the governor-approved bid to move the facility to Kearney.

What he now calls a hobby has caught the attention of the Alternative Proposal Committee - a group aimed at keeping the home in G.I.

"It allows for everything that Nebraska has asked for plus additional beds," said Don Shuda, Hall County Veterans Service Officer. "[It's] keeping some of the existing buildings here in Grand Island, but building a new Veterans Home right west of the current site."

The 204,800 square foot project would include eight new wings, housing 28 people each.

It was also use the existing Pershing and Anderson buildings.

The plan features a nursing station and mini-kitchen for every seven rooms, and rooms that couples could share.

It would house 224 residents.

Purvis said there would be money left over to upgrade the current shop and craft area.

That plan hinges on a funding announcement expected next month.

That's when Nebraska should find out if the state made a federal funding priority list.

"If they're not in the top quarter of that list, it's highly unlikely that funding will be there for any new home in Nebraska," said Shuda.

He said that will make time for alternative proposals like this one. They'll send these latest drawings to federal officials if Nebraska doesn't receive the funding.

If the Kearney project makes the list, Purvis said his plans will only be a keepsake.

"There's still hope for those who want to keep the home here in Grand Island," said Shuda.

Meanwhile, Kearney has their own group working on plans for what would be called the Central Nebraska Veterans Home – the Project Honor Committee.

That 330,000 square foot facility is expected to cost $101 million. The total cost is expected to be $121 million.

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