By Raetta Holdman

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The following are the key dates in the long process of getting a new VA Hospital built in the Denver metro area.

1995

Fitzsimons Army Medical Center put on the base closure list. This prompts discussions about moving the VA Hospital at 9th & Clermont in Denver to Fitzsimons and combining operations.

gettyimages 470250340 copy Timeline Of Events & Delays: New VA Hospital In Aurora, Colorado The 31 acre campus includes 1.26 million square feet in 10 buildings, as well as 3 parking structures. (Photo By Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post)

1996

Fitzsimons Army Medical Center closes.

1997

The US Army transfer Fitzsimons property to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Discussions begin about a joint venture between CU and the VA to provide medical services for veterans.

1998

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center breaks ground on new campus at Fitzsimons. Officials say move could take a decade.

gettyimages 468957840 Timeline Of Events & Delays: New VA Hospital In Aurora, Colorado Deputy Secretary of Veteran Affairs Sloan Gibson in April 2015 (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Discussions about about joint venture continue.

2001

The University begins construction on it’s new hospital at Fitzsimons. Several other buildings are already complete.

2004

A government report calls for the VA to move to Aurora in a stand-alone facility.

gettyimages 470253924 copy Timeline Of Events & Delays: New VA Hospital In Aurora, Colorado (Photo By Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post)

The Children’s Hospital Colorado breaks ground for its new facility on the Fitzsimons campus.

2005

VA makes final decision to move facility to Fitzsimons sight, east of University’s new facility.

2007

The University of Colorado Hospital opens it’s 820,000 square facility at a cost of $644 million and two years earlier than expected.

Children’s Hospital opens in its news facility, it’s twice the size of its Denver hospital and described as $567 million state-of-the-art hospital.

VA receives $98 million in federal funds for land, aims for completion date of 2012 or 2013.

gettyimages 540459356 Timeline Of Events & Delays: New VA Hospital In Aurora, Colorado VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson at the VA Hospital in the Fitzsimons campus June 15, 2016. (credit: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Congress approves $568 million for construction.

2008

Veterans protest the lack of action as we learn the cost has soared to $1 billion, well above the $769 million currently budgeted.

2009

The VA breaks ground on the hospital but no construction is forthcoming.

2011

Another groundbreaking is held, this time with Kiewit-Turner on board with the general construction contract.

2012

Construction finally begins. An opening date of 2015 is announced.

2013

The University of Colorado Hospital opens it’s 820,000 square facility at a cost of $644 million
Kiewit-Turner says it does not have a workable plan within the budget for the VA Hospital.

2014

After legal battle over ever-increasing costs, Kiewit-Turner shuts down construction in December. It resumes a few days later. Kiewit-Turner says it has a budget of $604 million but the current plan would cost more than $1 billion.

2015

The cost of VA project soars to $1.73 billion. VA agrees to make across the board cuts to pay for project as Congress approves more funds. Congress rules VA can no longer be the construction manager for any project costing more than $100 million.

gettyimages 470250354 Timeline Of Events & Delays: New VA Hospital In Aurora, Colorado (credit: Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post)

Management of the VA Hospital is given to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Expected completion date is 2017

2016

Congress demands Veterans Affairs release documents related to its internal investigation of the project. That report cites “gross mismanagement.” Glenn Haggstrom was in charge of construction projects at the time and twice testified on Capitol Hill without revealing the rising cost.

gettyimages 470980556 copy Timeline Of Events & Delays: New VA Hospital In Aurora, Colorado (2015 photo credit: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Projected opening date moved to 2018

2017

The hospital is officially named the “Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center.”

January 2018

VA reveals the hospital does not have enough primary care beds. Administrators say VA Hospital at 9th & Clermont will stay open for another three to five years. VA will also lease space in other buildings around the state.

CBS4 learns the hospital will open on July 21st with a ribbon cutting at the new facility. It will first serve out-patients then transfer over in-patients. The VA facility at 9th and Clermont will stay remain open because of the shortage of beds at the new hospital in Aurora.

Raetta Holdman is a veteran newscast producer. She’s been with CBS4 for more than 25 years, coordinating events — large and small — from the control room. Contact her by clicking here.

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