Senators raise issue with proposed Roanoke VA office renovations

U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner on Thursday sent a letter requesting Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and General Services Administrator Martha Johnson re-evaluate plans to renovate the Roanoke Veterans Affairs Regional Office.

The renovations, as currently planned, would likely exacerbate the VARO’s high backlog rate without solving some of its major infrastructure needs, the senators are saying.

“While we commend efforts to increase facility energy efficiencies, we are concerned that these scheduled improvements will inhibit ongoing efforts to reduce the Roanoke VARO’s growing claims backlog and will fail to address its long-term capacity issues,” Webb and Warner wrote in their letter. “We ask that you consider alternatives to the current reconstruction plan.”

The senators suggested that rather than spending over $50 million to refurbish the Poff Building, the VA could construct a new facility that meets federal environmental efficiency standards, addresses Roanoke’s current infrastructure needs, allows claims processing staff to continue working without disruption during construction, and improves convenience for veterans.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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