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Hon. Bob Filner, Chairman, Full Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Good afternoon.  I would like to thank the Florida Community College for their hospitality in hosting this hearing today.

I thank everyone for attending this hearing and for your interest in providing the veterans of Jacksonville the proper health care infrastructure that they need. 

The purpose of today’s hearing is to provide general oversight and to receive updates on the Gainesville Towers Project, a project which would not have been possible without the efforts of Congresswoman Brown.

As many people in this room know, the new bed tower will correct the deficiencies in patient privacy. 

To this end, the new bed tower will have 245,000 gross square feet.  The building will consist of four floors which will house 226 single-bed patient rooms with private baths and a ground floor which will house supportive services. 

The contract for the bed tower was awarded in June of 2008, and the construction will be completed in April of 2011.  It is also my understanding that about 10 percent of the construction has been completed to date.

I look forward to hearing the testimony of the witnesses on our panels and also look forward to leading a constructive discussion on the progress of the bed tower.