PROGRESS JANUARY 2022: $87M veterans home planned; 104-bed facility coming to Orangeburg | Special Sections

A new $87.3 million nursing home for veterans is planned for Orangeburg County.

The home is needed because nearby facilities are full with waiting lists, said Orangeburg County Veteran Affairs Officer Kenisha Grimes.

“Many Orangeburg County vets are housed in private facilities,” Grimes said. “With this new veterans home, it will save a lot of veterans money. Their families don’t have to travel that far to see their loved ones.”

“Private payment facilities place a financial burden on the families of many veterans who cannot afford them,” Grimes continued.

The agency’s application, to be filed with the VA before April 15, will propose a 104-bed facility similar to plans for the Sumter County and Horry County facilities.

It would be located off US 301 at exit 154 of Interstate 26.

Grimes said Orangeburg County offers an ideal, central location.

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It is about 35 miles from the nearest Veterans Hospital and even closer to a private hospital.

The area also offers easy access to the complex due to its proximity to a motorway exit.

“It will bring jobs to the area and also support the local colleges that offer nursing programs,” she said.

The new State Veterans Nursing Home is designed to meet the needs of veterans approaching retirement age in the next two decades.

The home would be funded by the federal and state governments under the VA State Home Construction Grant Program.

It is projected that federal funding could be available for the home by federal fiscal year 2031 if it is placed on the federal fiscal year 2023 VA priority list, according to the SC Department of Mental Health.

The SCDMH recommended building a new Veterans Home in the county.

The recommendation was based on a request from the state’s Joint Bond Review Committee that the department determine the need and feasibility of additional homes for state veterans.

The JBRC is a 10-member legislative body that oversees government capital improvement projects.

The JBRC approved the SCDMH’s recommendation late last year.

JBRC Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter said, “I was thrilled when the recommendation was approved to build the next facility in Orangeburg County and see this as the next step in my efforts to ensure that Orangeburg County gets its fair share.”

The SCDMH estimates the base cost of the home built in federal fiscal year 2031 at $87.3 million. It would be funded by the federal VA at $56.7 million, with the state raising $30.6 million.

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