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Sandoval cuts ribbon on long-awaited Northern Nevada Veterans Home

Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
State Government
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Gov. Brian Sandoval and wife Lauralyn at the ribbon cutting for the Northern Nevada Veterans Home in Sparks on Dec. 17, 2018. Photo by David Calvert.

Gov. Brian Sandoval fulfilled one of the major goals of his term just three weeks before he leaves office — cutting the ribbon on the Northern Nevada Veterans Home in Sparks.

While it will still be months until residents move into the 96-bed skilled nursing facility — the site still needs to receive its state and federal credentials — a ceremony on Monday marked the end of major construction, a milestone for a governor who has said he wants to make Nevada the country’s most veteran-friendly state. It comes 12 years after the state first applied for a grant to build such a home.

“This home is going to serve as an everlasting symbol of our pride — our pride for your accomplishments, and our gratitude for a debt we can never fully repay,” Sandoval told a standing room only crowd inside the building. “We stand here as a free people only because of the service of the men and women residing here.”

A model room on display at the ribbon cutting for the Northern Nevada Veterans Home in Sparks on Dec. 17, 2018. Photo by David Calvert.

Volunteers gave visitors a tour of a model room, which featured touches like a shadow box mounted just outside each door to display military memorabilia or personal mementos, a sliding barn door to the bathroom wide enough for a wheelchair and hardwood floors without thresholds so residents won’t trip.

The complex is designed to feel more like a home than a hospital. It features a sports bar, a coffee shop, a physical therapy gym and a barber shop that will soon be staffed by Don Diehl, who has been Sandoval’s barber for the last 30 years.

A small chapel with stained glass accents was dedicated before the ceremony with a plaque in honor of the governor’s father Ron Sandoval, an Air Force veteran who attended the event in a wheelchair.

The Northern Nevada Veterans Home in Sparks on Dec. 17, 2018. Photo by David Calvert.

The project spent years on a waiting list before Sandoval proposed, and lawmakers approved, a plan that involved the state fronting almost $50 million to speed up a process that could have taken years longer. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs a few days ago finalized a memorandum of understanding to reimburse the expenditure.

“I mean this in the most respectful way, but we could not wait for the federal government,” Sandoval said, thanking Q&D Construction for its work getting the project close to finished less than 18 months after a groundbreaking ceremony. “It really was personal … that we get this done.”

The complex is located in Sparks, near a DMV office, the Truckee River and the Lake’s Crossing and Dini-Townsend psychiatric hospitals. It’s a complement to a similar veterans nursing home in Boulder City, allowing veterans, their spouses and Gold Star families in the north to stay closer to home rather than moving far away for care.

“We will take care of our own, as they deserve nothing less,” Sandoval said in a dedication speech. “We really have a public opportunity to show from the bottom of our hearts, our appreciation for the men and women in the military.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval at the ribbon cutting for the Northern Nevada Veterans Home in Sparks on Dec. 17, 2018. Photo by David Calvert.
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