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Tom Hatch, left, contracting officers representative, and Sean Saltzman, chief of facilities management services for the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Sheridan, stand in front of Building #87 at the VAMC Monday morning. The new 40-bed facility, slated to be finished by May 2014, will offer a more home-like residential setting for treatment programs.   The Sheridan Press | Hannah WiestTom Hatch, left, contracting officers representative, and Sean Saltzman, chief of facilities management services for the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Sheridan, stand in front of Building #87 at the VAMC Monday morning. The new 40-bed facility, slated to be finished by May 2014, will offer a more home-like residential setting for treatment programs. The Sheridan Press | Hannah Wiest

Construction ahead of schedule for VAMC project

SHERIDAN — Patients in substance abuse and post traumatic stress disorder residential treatment programs at the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Medical Center will soon have a more home-like atmosphere in which to recover.

Building #87 is a 40-bed facility that will replace the outdated building currently in use. Construction on the 24,000-square-foot space began in October 2012 and is slated to be finished by May 2014. It will be a controlled-access building with patient access via a hallway to Building #86.

“We wanted a more modern facility that provided a more home-like residential setting,”said John Slaughter, chief of mental health residential rehabilitation treatment programs at the Sheridan VAMC.

The new residence will house males and females, and there will be a women’s wing with dedicated female beds, Slaughter said.

One of the biggest advantages of the new residence will be privacy, Slaughter said. The old building offered dorm-like accommodations with up to 12 beds per room. The new facility will offer private bathrooms, two beds per room and more welcoming communal areas with comfortable seating, big screen televisions and pool tables and other pastimes.

“Obviously, all of us are affected by our environment,” Slaughter said. “For people in the recovery process, having a facility that is aesthetically pleasant and more inviting and home-like will contribute to the recovery process for veterans in treatment.”

Building #87 was designed to blend in with surrounding architecture in keeping with the historic designation of the VAMC grounds.

Tom Hatch, contracting officers representative and engineer technician for the project, said the architecture and engineering crew began to research the design of surrounding buildings more than two years ago in conjunction with the State Historical Society.

Several unique features from surrounding buildings have been incorporated into the design including brick color, white columns, white trim, white sills under each window, white keystone features above each window and designs in the brickwork itself.

Work is currently ahead of schedule, Hatch said, with exterior work nearing completion and much of the interior sheet rocked and ready to paint.

Grand Enterprises and HHI Construction out of Salt Lake City are handling general contracting and construction management, respectively, and several local contractors have been hired for the project.

The $8.5 million project was funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The old facility will be remodeled and used for other patient services, Slaughter said.

The mental health residential rehabilitation treatment program provides evidence-based therapy for veterans who suffer from substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder due to a variety of trauma sources, not just combat, Slaughter said.

It is a residential program for veterans who can live independently.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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