FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Construction is underway on a $56 million nursing home for veterans in Florence.
It’s one of two new facilities being built across the state to give veterans and their families more access to care.
Crews have already started clearing the location on National Cemetery Road.
State and local leaders said the project is a big deal not only for veterans and their families, but the entire community.
"Isn’t it a great place to live if you’re a veteran in Florence County,” Randy Godbold, director of Veterans Affairs said. “Senator Leatherman has been working on this for a while and without him it would of never happened.”
Senator Hugh Leatherman said the nursing facility is expected to create 100 jobs along with a local impact of $15 to $20 million during construction.
He said initially the state Department of Mental Health, which will manage the nursing home, wanted to build a large VA nursing facility in Columbia in addition to the one that’s already there.
But, the senator said he wanted to provide easy access to vets and their families in the highest veteran populated areas.
“This is what I’m after, to make sure these veterans’ loved ones get there to see their veteran and let them know that they still care,” Leatherman said.
The state of the art facility will house 104 veterans with their own private bedrooms and bathrooms.
The community center for the nursing home includes a large activity space, chapel, physical therapy area and staff space.
“I think there’s a real need for it and it’s tremendous to get it here and be out there near the National Cemetery,” Leatherman said.
Both men said the need is larger than Florence County. Godbold added there are around 10,000 veterans in the area alone.
He said the new nursing facility is a step to giving all veterans a good quality of life in the place they call home.
"You’re talking about 104 placed nursing home that only cover about 10 percent of Florence County by itself and then you got all of the other areas, so this is something we’ve needed and needed it for a while,” Godbold said.
The other VA nursing facility will be in Cherokee County. Construction on the nursing home in Florence is expected to be completed by the year 2021.