AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the construction company in charge of the new VA Hospital in Aurora have come to an agreement that will allow construction to continue on the project for the next three months.
“The situation that we find ourselves in here today is unacceptable,” said Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson.
Some 1,400 workers could be back on the job as early as Monday. The contractor, Kiewit-Turner, stopped construction last week after a federal board of appeals ruled the Veterans Administration breached its contract.
The appeals board says the VA didn’t produce a design that could be built for the contracted $604 million and the company says it could cost more than $1 billion. The board also found that the VA doesn’t have sufficient funds to pay for construction of the entire project as currently designed and has no plans to ask for more money.
“I apologize to veterans here in Colorado and I apologize to our taxpayers,” said Gibson.
Leaders from both the VA and Kiewit-Turner agreed to key principals on Wednesday that will get the project running again. Those include:
- The VA will pay Kiewit-Turner $157 million for past costs.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take an advisory and assessment role during this interim period.
- The delivery model will be based on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) cost reimbursable principles.
“This isn’t about building a medical center, but about building a facility where VA can provide high-quality health care to the more than 390,000 Colorado Veterans who have served our nation,” said VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson.
“I’m pleased that we were able to reach an understanding to get back to work and am grateful to Kiewit-Turner for moving forward with us. I know that they want to complete this project as much as we do. Their professionalism and commitment to this medical center, along with that of the Army Corps of Engineers and the VA employees who have worked on this project, will help ensure that Colorado Veterans have the great facility that they deserve.”
“This project is for Veterans. That has never been lost on us,” said Scott Cassels, executive vice president for Kiewit. “Kiewit-Turner, the VA, our subcontractors and all workers on this crucial project should operate in a matter worthy of their service. Today’s agreement reflects that commitment.”
During the three months the project will continue, the VA will secure additional funds and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will assess the project and help determine a long-term plan to complete the project.
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