BOSTON (Mass.gov) – On Veterans Day, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the next steps for the expedited capital project for the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. Following the conclusion of the 12-week Rapid Planning Phase of the project, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance released the needs assessment report, and announced the selection of a vendor for the next phase.
“This is a significant step in the right direction for all of us in the Veteran community,” said John Paradis, veteran, and member of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition. “We are very positive about this, this was truly collaborative, and at the end of the day all we ask for is to have a voice and make sure that the family members and the veteran community get to express what they want in a future home.”
The Rapid Planning Phase was launched in August to identify a sustainable, public health, implementation roadmap to provide significant upgrades to the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. The architecture firm that led this project, Payette, wrote a report detailing its findings and recommended next steps. This report represents the culmination of research gathered by a broad group of veterans, families, veterans’ organizations, the community, and other stakeholders through focus groups, interviews, and surveys. These recommendations reflect the learnings from those engagements, and the analysis of demographic data and services in Western Massachusetts. Read the full report here.
Payette has been conditionally selected pending execution of a contract as the design firm to lead the design and planning phase, the next step of the expedited capital project. Payette will build on the evaluation they previously completed, and will develop a full project scope, refine the plan, and confirm the budget, timelines, and ensure conformity with the regulatory process. One of the early deliverables is the preparation of the submission for the VA State Home Construction Grant by its April 15, 2021 deadline. Following the submission of the grant application, the Design Phase will include further work to incorporate feedback from the VA on the grant submission.
“We are pleased to announce the advancement of this capital project for the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke to ensure that the facility remains safe and able to support the Commonwealth’s veterans as they age,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By updating and modernizing the facility, we will continue to provide high-quality health care to both aging veterans now and the next generation of veterans who need care.”
“The capital improvements this project entails will ensure longevity of services at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, which provides care to aging veterans from all across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Soldiers’ Homes are also unique as they recognize the selfless service of our veterans to the Nation and Commonwealth, not only on Veterans Day, but every day.”
“This expedited capital project for the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke provides an exciting opportunity to provide a state of the art long term care facility to meet the needs of our veterans in the coming years and to ensure that they are aligned with anticipated demand,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “It is also essential that any renovation meets the most stringent infection control standards.”
“Thank you to all the individuals and groups who have provided insight and recommendations for the future of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, we look forward to continuing our partnership throughout this process,” said Veterans’ Secretary Cheryl Lussier Poppe. “This needs assessment and selection of a design vendor marks a significant milestone in this expedited process as we continue our commitment to our aging veterans on this Veterans Day.”
“We appreciate all of the hard work that went into completing the rapid planning phase report for the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and the many stakeholders that offered valuable input,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael Heffernan. “We look forward to working with Payette to execute the design and planning phase so that we can invest in this important project to provide the very best for those who have sacrificed so much.”
“The Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke is a special place,” said Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Commissioner Carol Gladstone. “We have a team ready and committed to work with our partners at the Soldiers’ Home, the Department of Veterans’ Services, and Health and Human Services to implement the recommendations identified as part of this Rapid Planning Report .”
Payette is a well-known firm that has done scores of similar projects, including completing the Community Living Center and Campus Framework Plan for Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
While the expedited capital project will address long-term facility viability, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) and the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) have been addressing immediate capital needs, including a $6 million refresh of units, to significantly improve infection control for the residents and staff. The refresh includes refinishing the living and working environment to support infection control, including the installation of air purification units.
Learn more about the expedited capital project for the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke at www.mass.gov/HolyokeSHproject.