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By Samantha Sadlier

ssadlier@thespectrum.com

ST. GEORGE — Construction on the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins is reaching the halfway point of completion, with a finish date of late May or early June still within reach.

Dennis McFall, deputy direc­tor for the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs and project di­rector for the construction of the home, said the hardest part of the project, such as the infra­structure, is completed.

“Everything is running on schedule,” he said. “The project is at about 43 percent comple­tion and now that they have the infrastructure completed, the rest of the project is going to move quite rapidly.”

To help the construction of the home stay on schedule as well as provide funding to keep the veterans home running and maintained once it opens, sever­al community-based fundrais­ing projects are in the works for October, he said.

“We are very pleased with the amount of support we’ve re­ceived to get this project com­pleted,” he said.

Through the Gannett Corpo­ration’s initiative of Make a Dif­ference Day, The Spectrum is supporting the construction pro­ject throughout October with various fundraisers and ways for the community to get in­volved.

Donnie Welch, president and publisher of Spectrum Media, said the idea behind Make a Dif­ference Day is to support a com­munity project or cause.

“As our continued effort to support our local community, we joined with the rest of our company to make a bigger effort to get more of our employees in­volved for Make a Difference Day on Oct. 27,” he said. “We felt the VA home was a perfect ex­ample of a project all of us could get involved with and support.”

Residents can get involved in supporting the construction of the veterans home by checking out the Make a Difference Day events, including a Veterans Mercantile Sale on Saturday fol­lowed by a hamburger cookout on Oct. 19 and an auction and VA gala at the Dixie Center on Oct. 27, Welch said.

“We are having a few differ­ent events to help raise funds for the VA home,” he said. “We would love members of the com­munity to support the parking lot sale, the auction of items businesses and individuals are donating and the gala on the night of Oct. 27.”

McFall said the new home  will serve residents in the entire Southern Utah community and already has a waiting list of at least 40 interested people with more likely to come as the project nears completion.

“We anticipate that we will fill up rapidly,” he said. “We want to make sure that everyone in the Southern Utah community knows that it is for all of the vets in the area.”

Those interested in being on the waiting list for the home can send McFall the name of the proposed resident, a contact number and the branch of the military that was served.

McFall can be reached via email at dmcfall@utah.gov or mail the information to 550 Foothill Drive No. 202, Salt Lake City, UT, 84113.

Once completed, the facility will be operated by a private contractor that has yet to be chosen, but could be a company out of Southern Utah, McFall said.

The addition of the home to the community will create about 150 to 160 employment opportunities with a $4 million total payroll for those employees, he said.

Those interested in applying to work at the facility can contact McFall with a resume or other employment information and he said he will pass it along to the company that will be hired to run the facility upon completion. After completing all of the inspections and finalizing the project, McFall said he expects new residents can move into the home during the first week or two of June. 

FOR INFORMATION

To learn how to be on the waiting list for the home or to find out about employment opportunities, contact Dennis McFall at dmcfall@utah.gov or mail the in­formation to 550 Foothill Drive No. 202, Salt Lake City, UT, 84113.

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