A recent survey by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was a call to action for the Grand Island Veterans' Home. VA surveyors cited a member on oxygen being too close to other members who were smoking.
The answer for correcting the safety hazard is a new and updated smoking shelter . To keep up with requirements, the new facilities will be 80% enclosed and include features that Administrator of Grand Island Veterans Homes, Alex Willford, says will better accomodate members.
"We just need to open it up a little more at the bottom, a little more at the top, be more handicap accessible, and make it a better environment for the eight members we have that do smoke," said Willford.
The location for the new structure is already staked out. According to Willford, the construction for the new facility will cost around $20,000 to $25,000. He says the funding won't be a problem.
"The money we have to serve our veterans, I believe it's very much appropriate. The funds we will use to address the smokehut is going to be an allocation that goes through capital expense, so I don't see it as an issue."
State and federal laws dictate that members cannot smoke inside the main facilities and must use the designated areas. Willford says they hope to break ground in the coming weeks.