Construction Underway on New Veteran’s Home

It's called the Victory Apartments and Offices and it's aimed at helping thousands of veterans in Omaha.

Channel Six News was the first allowed inside for an exclusive tour of the $15 M project which is aimed at better servicing veterans.

The sounds of metal being cut and the pounding of nails echoed throughout the sixth floor of what will soon be the Victory Apartments, Monday. The building was donated by Grace University.

"We were able to identify this building as here, which was the former our Lady of Victory wing of St. Joseph Hospital, it was built in 1949,” Tom McLeay said. McLeay, who's been overseeing the project since its inception, showed Channel Six News the construction project.

“It's probably a once in a career kind of thing to be able to do something that is so meaningful for people who just … we all have so much that we need to give back to our veterans,” McLeay said

So, there's work to be done.

McLeay said he was happy the project is right on schedule. "We’ve gutted the building, every inch of this building right down to the concrete floors and the brick walls,” McLeay said.

There will be 80 apartments located inside the building with a mix of studio and one bedroom units. Each will have its own HVAC system and kitchen, all built from the inside out.

Veterans will be allowed to move in August 1st, 2013. McLeay said some units already have waiting tenants.

An artist’s rendering revealed what the final project will look like on the outside and floor plans showed the layout of the inside. Office space on the second floor will be used for counseling services. Grace University will lease the first floor basement for classroom space.

The entire project has one purpose- McLeay said- providing free housing and co-located services for veterans, all in one building. "We can't repay the debt of all those guys have given to us and women this is just one tiny payback for them that I think is so meaningful.”

Also Monday, both Papillion and LaVista Community Foundations hosted a Veteran’s Gala including a free dinner with guest speakers. Included on the speaking list was Governor Dave Heineman, a former service member himself.

Finally, Papillion natives U.S. Navy Lt. Tyler Grell and his wife Chelsea celebrated Veteran’s Day in Virginia. Lt. Grell recently returned home after an eight month cruise aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise where his duties included flying F/A-18 fighter planes. The Grells currently live in Virginia.

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