Colorado’s New VA Hospital Put Design Before Cost, Says New Report

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Photo: Aurora VA Hospital Construction May 2015 (AP Photo)
In this May 21, 2015 file photo, members of a construction crew work at the site of the new Veterans Administration hospital complex, in Aurora, Colo.

An extravagant design plan is one reason costs have skyrocketed at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital under construction in Aurora, according to a new review by the department's internal watchdog.

In 2009 Congress approved $800 million for construction of the hospital, which would replace an aging facility built in 1951 and serve a growing number of veterans living in the area, according to the inspector general's report.

The estimated budget is now $1.675 billion.

Chart: Rising costs of VA hospital in Aurora -- with caption
This chart shows the rising costs of the Aurora VA Hospital. The most recent estimate, from March 2015, is accurate as of September 2016.

Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel talked with Mark K. Matthews, Washington correspondent for the Denver Post, who has followed this story for two years.