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Jacksonville district, emergency flood control --
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11,500,000 Mr. KERR. If there are no further questions, we are always glad to have you talk to us, Colonel.
Colonel POTTER. Thank you, sir.
MONDAY, JULY 17, 1950.
UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME
COL. D. C. CORDINER, ACTING GOVERNOR
CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOSPITAL AND BARRACKS
Mr. KERR. Colonel Cordiner, you are here, I believe, to discuss with us the matter of improvements at the Soldiers' Home in the way of building a new hospital and barracks.
Colonel CORDINER. Yes, sir.
Mr. KERR. We will be glad to hear you, sir. Do you have a general statement ?
Colonel CORDINER. I have a brief statement. The postwar building program for the United States Soldiers' Home was initiated in 1944 at the suggestion of the subcommittee of the House Military Appropriations Committee. $100,000 has been spent in preliminary planning and $296,000 for the actual building plans, a total of $396,000.
This program, known as the master plan, prepared by the Office of the Chief of Engineers and approved by the Bureau of the Budget, provides for an ultimate accommodation of 4,500 members, of whom 3,500 will be quartered in barracks and 1,000 in the hospital. The total ultimate cost of the master plan will be approximately $30,000,000 to $35,000,000.
The estimates being considered today, totaling $12,750,000, provide for an 842-bed barracks and a 210-bed hospital. The barracks building is considered the key to the master plan and provides all key accommodations necessary to the logical development of the home.
There has been no major improvement at the United States Soldiers' Home since 1910, when the Grant Building was completed.
As a consequence, and with the home filled to excess capacity, there is a waiting list that has varied from 350 to 500 in the past year. Many members are quartered in dark and dingy basement rooms, and there is considerable overcrowding.
It is estimated that the new barracks and hospital will enable the home to give up the use of basement rooms—relieve overcrowding and deplete the waiting list—and leave some room for future expansion.
One of the prime features of the new barracks will be the fact that a major effort will be made to reduce the number of men in large squad rooms and to provide a greater proportion of single and double rooms. This is essential because the physical handicaps of a large proportion of the membership-respiratory difficulties, bladder and bowel troubles, sleeplessness, et cetera—make it most difficult to provide contentment and comfort, let alone congeniality among members whose average age exceeds 66 years. In order to accomplish this purpose, as urgently recommended by the home surgeon, within the funds available, it may be necessary to reduce the total number of beds now planned for
The last annual report of the Inspector General stated: The United States Soldiers' Home is being administered and operated in a very excellent manner, in spite of the severe handicap of inadequate funds. It is recommended that the Secretary of the Army stress, with appropriate authorizing agencies, the urgent and acute need for the prompt appropriation of adequate sums from the permanent fund, for the construction of additional dormitory and hospital buildings.
The full report of the Inspector General concerning the physical plant at the United States Soldiers' Home is furnished herewith for the record: Physical plant
(a) Most of the buildings are very old and, therefore, difficult to maintain properly. They present problems of fire prevention and protection which would not appear in modern public structures of this kind. In spite of these difficulties, however, and with limited funds, the Administration has kept the buildings scrupulously clean and in good repair. Many improvements of a minor nature have been accomplished during the past year. The most important major project,
now in progress, is the conversion of the electrical system from direct current to alternating current, including the replacement of old cables and motors. Although serious fire hazards still exist, commendable progress has been made toward remedying this deficiency, on a minor scale, by such measures as the installation of fire doors and fire escapes, increasing the number of extinguishers and fire-fighting tools, and by periodic fire inspections and drills.
(6) Available dormitories have been filled to overcrowding, and it has been necessary to place beds in basement rooms which are poorly ventilated, dark, and in wet weather, cold and damp.
(c) The Barnes Building, an antiquated structure (1876), one of the hospital group of buildings, presents a very dangerous fire hazard. It is flammable in the extreme, and the evacuation of patients, in case of fire, would be a difficult operation. This structure should be replaced as soon as possible with the new hospital building now requested in the construction program, and razed or placed in some other use than for the treatment of bedridden patients.
(d) The system in use for the distribution of heat from the central heating plant to the several buildings is antiquated and inefficient. Hot water is used throughout. Underground pipes are corroded, and there is the ever-present danger of breakage during winter weather, resulting in one or more of the dormitory or hospital buildings being without heat. One of the projects in the utilities section of the proposed construction program calls for the conversion of the heat-conducting system from hot water to steam, and the replacement of old, underground pipes. The district engineer concurs in the opinion of the Governor of the home in recommending this project as an urgent necessity.
(e) The construction program, for which the home has requested authority to expend $16,547,000 from its funds in the fiscal year 1951, may be found on page 13 of the annual report of the Governor of the home to the Secretary of the Army for the fiscal year 1949. The permanent fund is ample to meet this expenditure and to leave a sufficient working balance. The need is most urgent for new structures and improvements in the present buildings to relieve overcrowding in dormitories and hospital, and to eliminate the long waiting list of approved ap. plicants; to assure more adequate fire prevention; and to modernize utilities. Positive action, at the earliest possible date, in making the permanent fund available for these and other necessary improvements is most strongly recommended. The building of a new dormitory and hospital from the existing permanent fund, the balance of which has increased $6,000,000 during the past fiscal year, should take precedence over all other projects and should be given prompt consideration.
That completes my statement.
There are two words in the language that the Engineers would like to have added. The words “design and” to be inserted in front of the word “construction” on the first page, third line.
Mr. TABER. You mean this is not designed as yet? Colonel CORDINER. The engineer thinks he may have to use some of this money for redesigning both the hospital and a portion of the barracks.
INCREASE IN COST OF THE HOME OVER TEN-YEAR PERIOD
Mr. KERR. How much does the money for the home increase each year?
Colonel CORDINER. You mean the membership of the home?
Colonel CORDINER. I would say in the past 10 years it has more than doubled.
Mr. KERR. Can you give us for the record what the increase has been and the amounts you have been getting?
Colonel CORDINER. Yes, sir; we can have that put in the record. The increase in costs is largely due to wages and prices and to the fact that we are now under civil-service rules and regulations, working 40 hours a week. That has increased our costs tremendously.
Mr. RABAUT. How much of a fund do you have on hand now?
Colonel CORDINER. As of July 1, we should have about $42,000,000 when all of the collections have been received by the Treasury.
Mr. RABAUT. You turn the money back to the Treasury, but it is earmarked for your purposes
? Colonel CORDINER. Yes, sir; and we receive 3 percent interest on the balance in the Treasury.
DISCUSSION OF MASTER PLAN FOR CONSTRUCTION AT THE HOME
Mr. RABAUT. The ultimate cost of this master plan is estimated at from $30,000,000 to $35,000,000 ?
Colonel CORDINER. Yes, sir.
Mr. RABAUT. Will you require additional funds to maintain that plant over what you have now, or under the master plan will there be savings effected ?
Colonel CORDINER. Let me put it this way: The master plan will not be further augmented until about 1960. We will continue to use our existing structures, and we are of the opinion that this one building will give us enough dormitory space to take care of all our requirements until that year.
Mr. RABAUT. What is the estimated cost of that building?
Colonel CORDINER. That will provide, we hope, an 842-bed barracks with all of the facilities necessary to be in keeping with the master plan-dormitories, mess facilities, auditorium, library, and other recreational facilities.
Mr. RABAUT. Will it cause the elimination of some of the buildings that are there now?
Colonel CORDINER. Ultimately.
Colonel CORDINER. Not at this time; no. At the hospital, we plan the elimination of one old building—the Barnes Building—built in 1876 and which is a veritable firetrap.
ACCOMMODATIONS PROVIDED FOR BY ESTIMATE
Mr. KERR. You are asking us for $12,750,000?
Mr. KERR. And it is contemplated, according to the plans that have been adopted, that will be sufficient to build this building and give you accommodations there that you ought to have ?
Colonel CORDINER. That is what we hope. I think the engineer is in a better position to answer that than I am. Mr. Merrick has been working on this plan, and I would rather have him answer that question.
Mr. KERR. We will be glad to hear from you.
Mr. MERRICK. The estimate which was submitted to the home as the using agency was about $13,500,000, and the Bureau of the Budget has made it $12,000,000. Our estimate was made in 1949 and has been cut down based on a wishful attitude, at least, that lower prices will prevail. We do not know whether that will give quite all of the 842 beds.
Mr. KERR. You just do not know whether it will cost more than that or whether that will cover the total cost, as a matter of fact?
Mr. MERRICK. Our judgment is this is approximately right, depending on the market.
Mr. KERR. Are there any further questions?
JUSTIFICATION OF THE ESTIMATE
Mr. TABER. Are these pages going into the record? I think we ought to put page 5 in the record, beginning with project 8.
Mr. RABAUT. You mean in regard to that 210-bed hospital?
Mr. TABER. Yes. Pages 5, 6, and 7, I think, ought to go into the record.
(The matter above referred to is as follows:)
EXPENSES, UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME (TRUST FUND)
PROJECT 8Permanent improvements—Lands and structures
There is tabulated below a breakdown of the $12,750,000 requested : (a) Hospital (ward wing for 210 beds), $2,925,900
On the basis of an anticipated member population of 2,000 by the year 1960, it is proposed at this time to erect a modern fireproof structure containing 210 beds and all clinical and outpatient departments. The estimated cost for this structure is exclusive of movable equipment. (0) Domiciliary building, $7,842,090 (6) Domiciliary building, $7,842,000
The proposed new building is designed to house 842 members and will be a modern fireproof structure on a site which will not interfere with the continued occupancy of the existing housing structures. The building will incorporate within its envelope such basic services as a consolidated mess for approximately 2,000 and an auditorium of from 900 to 1,000 seating capacity. The estimated cost of this structure is exclusive of movable equipment. (c) Site improvements, $182,000
The addition of the new buildings will require grading operations and the construction of roads, walks and other facilities in the adjustement of the landscape to the changed conditions. (d) Oustide utilities, $780,000
A majority of the existing utilities are to be replaced or renewed and will include heating distribution system, water supply, sanitary sewers and storm sewers. (e) Nurses home, $318,000
It is proposed to erect new quarters for 25 nurses, including chapel and mess facilities. The estimated cost for this structure is exclusive of movable equipment.