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Tulsa VA medical complex to get $4 million from Tulsa County's COVID relief allocation
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Tulsa VA medical complex to get $4 million from Tulsa County's COVID relief allocation

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VA hospital (copy)

An architect’s vision of the new Veterans Affairs hospital in downtown Tulsa.

Tulsa County has committed $4 million from its $126.5 million American Rescue Plan allocation to the Veterans Affairs hospital under development in downtown Tulsa, the county announced Monday.

Tulsa County said the funds will be spent on project infrastructure.

“Tulsa County is proud to join many public and private partners, including The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, to support this expansion and improve health outcomes for our nation’s veterans, as well as those in our community experiencing a mental health crisis,” Tulsa County Commission Chairman Stan Sallee said in a written statement.

“My fellow commissioners and I are working diligently to place ARP funding where it is needed most in our community. This proposed project lifts the standard of care for all Tulsans but specifically improves outcomes for our most at-risk Tulsa County residents,” Sallee said.

The $175 million complex on Houston Avenue between Third and Sixth streets is expected to include a psychiatric facility, a 58-bed medical/surgical hospital in the former Kerr-Edmondson state office buildings, and a new parking garage to be built by the city of Tulsa.

Funding for the project includes $120 million from the federal government with cash and in-kind contributions from private donors, the state, the city and now the county.

The complex will be jointly operated by the VA and the adjacent Oklahoma State University Medical Center as well as the OSU Center for Health Sciences.

The project is one of the first VA facilities in the country to combine federal, state, local and private financing and is part of a larger VA reorganization for eastern Oklahoma that will include a $28 million renovation of the Jack C. Montgomery Hospital in Muskogee as an in-patient mental health and substance abuse facility.

“This is Tulsa’s opportunity to grow a true university medical campus engine here,” said Judy Zarrow Kishner, president of The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, which is contributing at least $10 million to the project. “There is no question that Tulsa County needs additional mental health beds and expanded services, and the state has been committed to helping us get there over the next few years.”

The complex is expected to open in 2023.

Including Monday’s pledge, Tulsa County has spent $14.5 million of its share of the American Rescue Plan’s two-year, $1.9-trillion appropriation intended to bolster the U.S. economy as it tries to recover from COVID-19.

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Featured video: Get a behind-the-scenes look at the new Ernest Childers Veterans Center as it’s under construction on South Mingo Road

Get a tour of the Ernest Childers Veterans Center under construction at 91st and Mingo. STEPHEN PINGRY, Tulsa World

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