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Oklahoma Veterans Affairs to build new center

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: October 11, 2018

ARDMORE, Okla. — The state Department of Veterans Affairs plans to build a new veterans center in southern Oklahoma.

The agency announced on Wednesday that a new Ardmore facility will replace the city's existing center, The Oklahoman reported .

"It appears that the stars and the dollar signs are aligning," said Doug Elliott, executive director of Veterans Affairs.

Elliott said the century-old Ardmore center needs to be replaced before it becomes more antiquated.

The new center will feature private rooms and bathrooms, and may be relocated to a more rural part of the city, Elliott said.

The agency plans to file a grant application by the end of the year and should hear back from the federal government by August, Elliot said. The federal government typically pays for about 65 percent of state Veterans Affairs projects.

"Right now, with all the cost savings we've found, there is $12 million in ODVA's coffers right now," he said. "At the start of next year, with those savings, that's $24 million. Guess what? We're home. We can make this obligation this year."

The Oklahoma Veterans Commission also plans to close a veterans center in Talihina. The commission will meet later this month to decide where to build a new center.

"We're building two centers at the same time, as long as the federal government grants that money," Elliott said. "If they don't grant the money, we may do it on our own."
 

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