The Department of Veterans Affairs held a public hearing to provide information on the agency’s Building Utilization Review and Repurposing initiative.
Many of those attending were VA employees, residents of the site’s Community Living Center and officials from local American Legion posts.
The building initiative, in conjunction with the VA’s Enhanced-Use Lease project, will transform Building 18, near the front of the Uptown Division campus on Wrightsboro Road, into a senior independent living and non-senior assisted living facility for veterans and their family members. The 2-acre lot next to Building 18 will be used as a buffer for parking and landscaping.
Renee Bradley, the project manager for the VA’s Office of Asset Enterprise Management, gave a presentation explaining that a market analysis found “Augusta has a very high need for non-senior assisted living.” Bradley explained that many soldiers return to the area from combat duty with traumatic brain injuries or stress disorders that prevent them from handling the pressures of finding affordable housing and jobs.
Bradley said the project is not funded by the VA. Instead, the VA leases underused VA real estate to private parties. The location on Wrightsboro Road is ideal, he said, because it is close to the medical center, support centers and the bus stop.
Building 18 will be renovated to accommodate approximately 40 housing units, although that number may change after further marketing analysis reveals the number of family members that will need to be accommodated.
Community Living Center residents questioned officials whether the project will move them out, but were assured that the center will not close.