Thursday, October 28, 2021 - The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce welcomed the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) Executive Director Joel Kintsel to its monthly chamber meeting Wednesday at the Indian Capital Technology Center. Kintsel was the keynote speaker and provided a briefing on the progress being made on the 90 acre, 214 thousand square feet, Veterans Center located at 2343 S. Kerr Boulevard south of Sallisaw.
Members of the American Legion Post 27, above bottom, posted the colors prior
to the presentation from ODVA Executive Director Joel Kintsel, above top.
A total of four buildings are being constructed on campus, Kintsel said. The buildings are currently labeled as numbers to help workers distinguish between them but will eventually be named. Three of the buildings are considered "neighborhoods" and will be the residential buildings of the facility.
The furthest along at this time is Building 100, which is the central community center that will be utilized for staffing and residents' needs. "Right now, steel erection and fire proofing columns are taking place while decking and safe room lids are being installed. In addition, preparation is also taking place to pour the concrete slab for the remainder of the area, " Kintsel stated.
Building 200 is a "neighborhood" on campus and is currently in the early stages of its concrete slab, safe room walls and footing being poured, Kintsel said. The grade layout and underground mechanical work are underway in Building 300, a second neighborhood, which will serve as the special need’s unit.
The third neighborhood, Building 400, is well underway as interior beams have been completed, the roof decking continues, and the interior mechanical work is being roughed-in. Currently, the City of Sallisaw is working on installing temporary power, Kintsel added.
"One feature of the facility that we are extremely excited about are the safe rooms that are being installed in all buildings throughout the campus. Instead of everyone gathering in one central location, we are installing safe rooms complete with restrooms all throughout the campus. These saferooms are built to withstand an EF5 tornado and we take pride in knowing that at any time, residents as well as their families will have comfort and peace of mind knowing they are safe when severe weather takes place," Kintsel explained.
An employment recruitment campaign will begin October 1, 2022 to fill 250-300 job positions. There will be positions available in all areas but Kintsel said they will especially need LPN’s and RN’s.
Kintsel pointed out that prospective residents may start applying now to confirm their residency at the Sallisaw Veterans Center. A waiting list already exists, he said. Veterans can access and complete the VA housing application at https://oklahoma.gov/veterans/veterans-centers/eligibility.html . "I would like to point out that veterans with a service connected disability rating of 70% or higher will never have to pay to reside in our homes. They pay absolutely nothing," Kintsel stated.
Lindsie Dyer, Staff Writer
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