Update on the Southern Colorado National VA Cemetery
Congressman Doug Lamborn has released the following map and status update on the Southern Colorado National VA Cemetery, following the recent purchase of land on the Rolling Hills Ranch site to the south and east of the Colorado Springs Airport.
- The VA Office of Construction and Facility Management is currently soliciting contractors to compete for the architectural and engineering contract. This process is expected to be completed by late summer of 2014.
- This Master Planning period is expected to last for 15 to 18 months prior to the beginning of construction, which is slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2016.
- Congressman Lamborn remains dedicated to continuing his bipartisan leadership to ensure that this project is fully funded to completion. Congressman Lamborn is grateful for the work that has been done by Retired Army Colonel Vic Fernandez and his team on the Pikes Peak National Veterans Cemetery Committee. They have worked for many years to help make this dream a reality for Southern Colorado veterans.
Timeline of Milestones for Southern Colorado VA Cemetery
- Jan. 2007– Lamborn introduced H.R. 295 on his second day in office, directing the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs to establish a national veterans’ cemetery in Southern Colorado.
- March 2007– Lamborn co-sponsors H.R. 1660, a similar bill, with Rep. John Salazar
- May 2007 –Lamborn amends H.R. 1660 to ensure that any veterans’ cemetery created in Southern Colorado be located in El Paso County
- May 24, 2007– House passes H.R. 1660 and sends to the Senate
- May 5, 2008 - Lamborn brings Congressional Field Hearing on the National Cemetery which challenged the outdated criteria that previous ruled out Colorado Springs from being authorized a cemetery.
- July 15, 2009– Lamborn co-sponsors H.R. 3219, Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010, which authorizes a national veterans’ cemetery in southern Colorado.
- February 2010– The Veterans Administration requests funding for a Southern Colorado VA National Cemetery
- October 13, 2010– H.R. 3219 becomes law (P.L. 111-275), authorizing a national veterans’ cemetery in southern Colorado. (Passed the House July 27, 2009; Passed the Senate September 28, 2010)
- September 2011– Congressman Lamborn hosts Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro in Colorado Springs to personally discuss the progress on the southern Colorado veteran’s cemetery.
- June 2012 – VA narrowed the site selection down to 4 sites (4-Way Ranch, Bradley Heights, Rolling Hills and Kane Ranch)
- January 21, 2014 – VA completed final purchase of 374 acres of land in Colorado Springs, CO known as the Rolling Hills Ranch. The site is located east of Colorado Springs near the intersection of Bradley and South Meridian Roads.
Future Timeline Expectations
- Master Planning expected to take place from July 2014 to December 2015.
- Construction slated to begin in early 2016.
- Typically, the VA offers first interments about 9-10 months after beginning new cemetery construction. This timeframe reflects the VA’s practice of using "early turnover" sections in new cemeteries, in order to ensure that the VA may provide a burial option for veterans and their families prior to the total completion of the cemetery.
- The VA is planning to hold a community meeting later in 2014 to share the proposed construction timeline and initial renderings of the new national cemetery with the local community.