Updated:LAKE NONA, Fla.,None —
It looks as if local military veterans will have to wait until the summer of 2013 for the new VA Medical Center in Lake Nona.
Something has delayed the grand opening planned for October. WFTV's Jeff Deal asked the developer, lawmakers and veterans officials what happened.
They cited everything from a leaking roof and wiring changes to delays in getting design documents to the contractors.
The engineer on the project didn't have an estimate, but told us it could end up costing taxpayers more money.
Mike Dixon at Orange County Veterans Service said it's been a long time coming for the $665 million project.
"We've been anxiously awaiting for the thing to come to fruition," Dixon said. "We're the only large metropolitan area in the U.S. that doesn't have a VA hospital. It's been fought over for decades now."
But now there is word the wait could be a little longer.
The 1.2 million-square-foot facility was supposed to open this October, but now the completion date has been pushed back to the middle of 2013 at the earliest.
Congressman John Mica isn't happy.
"I've called on both the House Veterans Committee and Veterans Affairs to investigate what went wrong and how we can get this moving again and hold people's feet to the fire."
Mica said wiring issues and a leaky roof are part of the problem.
A spokeswoman for lead contractor Brasfield and Gorrie said she isn't aware of those problems, and placed at least some blame on plan delays from designers and changes in medical equipment that will be installed.
The VA confirms the changes in equipment, and admits a leaky roof will need to be fixed. But it was adamant that last year's high-profile federal immigration raid that led to the arrest of 9 people is not a factor.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown isn't happy either. She issued a statement, saying, "a delay in opening this facility cannot be allowed to happen."
She said she plans to meet with the VA secretary on Friday to express her concerns.