In Aurora, VA exec offers apology for over-budget hospital project

April 3, 2015
Photo: VA deputy secretary Sloan Gibson (AP Photo)
Silhouetted by an uncompleted wing of the hospital, Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary of the department of U.S. Veterans Affairs, speaks during a news conference at the construction site of the Veterans Affairs hospital Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Aurora, Colo. Veterans Affairs officials are trying to get the overdue, over-budget hospital back on track.

VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson visited the site Thursday and met with contractors. He again said the VA needs another $830 million to finish.

“We know trust has eroded here in Denver and elsewhere across the country," Gibson said. "We are committed to earning it back, often times one veteran at a time.” 

The hospital is now expected to cost $1.73 billion. Gibson says the design was finalized too late and the contractor wasn't brought into the process early enough.

Gibson dismissed a proposal by Rep. Mike Coffman to funnel the department's multimillion-dollar employee bonus budget into construction, calling it "a lousy idea."

Last year, VA officials said the hospital would cost $630 million and open in May 2015. Gibson says the VA now hopes to open it in 2017.

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