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County to build $2.5 million veterans center
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The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the Capital Improvement Plan Project List for 2013-14. Amongst these projects is the development of a new Veterans Center, with the hefty price tag of $2.5 million.

According to the County, the project will develop the Veteran’s Center for the consolidation of services to Stanislaus County Veterans. The services will include counseling, medical referrals, transportation, social, educational, and Veteran Affairs and Cal Vet benefits coordination.

The services that are currently operated in county facilities will be relocated the new Veteran’s Center, which is said to create close to $2.2 million in leased space savings over the span of 20 years.

Additionally, the proposed Veteran’s Center will include an assembly hall, a kitchen and serving facilities for meetings and banquets, and a business meeting space shared for various Veterans’ organizations throughout the County.

While the actual location has not yet been determined by the County, the development of the center is said to take place in the Modesto/Ceres area with a preliminary development schedule running from 2014-2018. The cost estimate also assumes the use and remodel of existing County-owned property resources.

The Board of Supervisors adopted a needs assessment and veteran’s facility plan in June that supported the development of a total of approximately 35,000 square feet of needs. A portion of the identified needs already exist within the community, however a meeting hall and County Veteran’s Service Office, kitchenette, shared organization business offices, storage and meeting rooms was found to require approximately 24,000 square feet of space.

Project planning is currently underway and a conceptual plan will soon be presented to the Board of Supervisors.

The $2.5 million price tag includes $650,000 in design and $1.85 million in construction. The County General Fund will cover $2.16 million of the cost, while a non-county contribution of $340,000 will pay the difference.

No additional staffing will be required to operate the new facility, as existing staffing in spaces leased to the County will be relocated to the new proposed facility. If developed at existing County property, no additional maintenance expenses would be necessary.