The Veterans Administration hospital in Murfreesboro is upgrading its buildings and parking lots, but some veterans say it's a huge waste of money and call the improvements extravagant and unnecessary.
Copper gutters are a rare sight these days. They are certainly stunning, but they are also expensive.
Local contractors tell Channel 4 News nobody installs them any more, because they cost about $24 per foot installed, while their aluminum alternative goes for about $3.75 per foot.
Nevertheless, the VA hospital in Murfreesboro features buildings beautifully adorned with copper gutters, copper downspouts and copper flashing.
Veterans we talked to at the Alvin York campus were not happy with the expensive gutters, but felt like it was fruitless to even complain.
"I don't care if they put up gold gutters. It doesn't mean nothing to me. They are going to do whatever they want to do," said veteran Ken Bennett.
And that's not the only issue, as the VA is also refurbishing the old parking lot. In the meantime, a temporary gravel parking serves patients, but that gravel lot will be destroyed after the new one is built.
The VA says it is under federal guidelines and is limited legally to a certain number of parking spaces. If it exceeds those spaces, it's considered a misappropriation of funds, so the temporary lot must be destroyed.
The entire parking project runs about $1.5 million.
And as for the copper, the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, so the VA must comply to strict guidelines that say the copper is a requirement. The refurbishment project, which also includes some new roofs, costs taxpayers about $9 million.
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