Lavish Features Cut From Over-Budget Aurora VA Hospital

The new construction bosses at an over-budget veterans hospital outside Denver say they're saving money by scaling back landscaping and using Colorado stone instead of Brazilian imports.

But Army Corps of Engineers officials said Wednesday they don't yet know whether they can finish for less than the $1.7 billion the Veterans Affairs Department expects to spend.

The Corps took over management from the VA last year after the cost nearly tripled and legal disputes threatened to halt the work.

Corps officials briefed GOP congressman Mike Coffman on the project Wednesday and conducted a tour. The hospital is in suburban Aurora, part of Coffman's district.

Officials say they're also cutting costs by streamlining the process for approving change orders and by rewarding subcontractors who find ways to save money.