HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Big changes are coming to the management team of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, including major infrastructure improvements, all in an effort to avoid another deadly outbreak like Covid-19.

The facility’s Board of Trustees held its monthly meeting Tuesday night and 22News learned that in some instances veterans’ beds were only 24 inches apart. The end-goal is to move all of the veterans back into the facility, but before that happens, they’re planning to redesign the living quarters to allow for more space between residents.

22News also learned that the National Guard will start to be phased out in the next 4 to 6 weeks. They have been assisting the state with stabilizing the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Soldiers’ Home will be hiring three new executive positions; a deputy superintendent, a director of plant operations, and interim medical director. The current medical director will be resigning once a new person is hired for the position.

The biggest part of this plan is reconstructing the facility to allow for proper social distancing.

Val Liptak is the acting Administrator at the Soldiers’ Home. She said right now, there are 210 veteran beds. This new plan will reduce residency to 160 to 170 so that there is enough space between veterans – as said before, some beds were just 24 inches apart.

Under the refresh project, all wallpaper and wardrobes will be removed and replaced, and room treatments that don’t meet infection control standards will be taken out. This will be a floor by floor process.

Currently the third floor is empty – it will be re-done and veterans will move back in, then the second and fourth floors will be done. This project is expected to cost roughly $2 million.

Right now, the death toll at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is at 88, 74 were Covid-19 positive.

No new deaths have been reported in the past few days.