CANANDAIGUA — U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Monday that $190 million to complete a modernization and expansion project at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center has been included in a fiscal year 2019 Senate appropriations bill.
“Our veterans have protected and defended us, and when they finish their tour of duty it is our job to care for them,” Schumer said in a press release. “The new Canandaigua Veterans Affairs medical campus does just that by giving Rochester-area veterans the facilities they need and deserve. This $190 million in funding for Phase II will help get this project over the finish line for veterans in Rochester and beyond.”
“New York state is home to hundreds of thousands of men and women who have served our country in the military,” Gillibrand added. “When these brave service members return home, we must ensure that they have the necessary access to quality medical care.”
The $190 million, if it gets final approval, will go toward an overall $351 million project at the Canandaigua VA campus off Fort Hill Avenue.
The work will be completed in two phases. Construction is underway on the $161 million first phase, including a three-story, 84,200-square-foot outpatient clinic on what is now undeveloped space between Buildings 1 and 2. The clinic is expected to open in 2022.
The second phase will include construction of a 120-bed community living center complex to replace outdated long-term living spaces, as well as renovation of the dilapidated 50-bed domiciliary facility, where veterans live for three to six months before re-entering the community. Those veterans are dealing with homelessness, substance abuse, or mental or behavioral health issues.
Renovation of Building 3 on the VA campus, to improve rehabilitation and physical therapy offerings, is part of the second phase too. That phase is expected to be completed in 2023.
In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would start a major reconstruction project to modernize the Canandaigua VA, provide state-of-the-art care, and meet the needs of current and future veterans. The announcement came about three years after Schumer, local veterans and the community convinced the VA’s Capital Asset Realignment for Enhancement Services Commission to reverse its recommendation that the VA close the Canandaigua facility.