HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A massive construction project gets underway on Monday in Holyoke, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for the new Veterans Home in Holyoke.
The site, formerly known as the Holyoke Soldiers Home, received a $263.5 million grant for reconstruction last year. The new Veterans Home will gradually replace the existing Soldiers’ Home facility through phased construction and is projected to be replaced by 2026, with complete site restoration anticipated by Summer 2028.
The new facility will have 234 long-term care beds organized in a small-home configuration, giving those living there a communal atmosphere with top-tier medical care. Those will be spread out across a 350,000-square-foot building and will come with a host of outdoor amenities like gardens, a greenhouse, a veterans memorial, and a pavilion. The design of this facility began in earnest after the tragic Covid-19 outbreak that killed more than 70 veterans in 2020.
Governor Maura Healey, Congressman Richard Neal, and Veterans Services Secretary Jon Santiago attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Today marks a historic milestone for Massachusetts veterans, service members and their families,” said Governor Healey. “The commencement of construction for the new Holyoke Veterans Home represents our commitment to ensuring that Massachusetts veterans receive the care and support they deserve. Working with our local, state and federal partners, and under the leadership of Secretary Santiago and the team at the Executive Office of Veteran Services, we will continue our work to revitalize both Veterans Homes, enhancing personnel and facilities to provide nothing less than world-class care for our veterans.”
“Our administration is resolute in our commitment to invest in and support our veterans,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, who herself is the daughter of a Navy Veteran. “Together, we will honor the sacrifices of our veterans by ensuring they receive the comprehensive care and services that they deserve.”
“Today’s groundbreaking comes after years of advocacy by local, state, and federal officials, and most importantly, the family members of Holyoke Veterans’ Home residents both past and present. These efforts have culminated in a new 234-bed facility that will provide our veterans with the care and treatment they have earned,” said Congressman Richard Neal. “I would like to thank VA Secretary Denis McDonough, who I have been in regular communication with over the past several years, for recognizing the significant impact a project of this magnitude will have on our veteran community. Three years ago, we gathered here after seventy-six veterans tragically lost their lives. At that time, we promised to deliver change that would prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Today, we are delivering on that promise.”
“Our mission is to honor those who have selflessly served our nation,” said Secretary Jon Santiago. “Though the past remains immutable, the future is ours to shape. The Holyoke Veterans’ Home reconstruction project is our unwavering commitment to ensuring that Massachusetts veterans receive exceptional long-term care. Their sacrifices for our freedom should never be forgotten or taken for granted.”
“We have made great strides over the last three years,” said Michael Lazo, Superintendent, Holyoke Veterans’ Home. “Today marks the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning —it’s great to be at the point of construction of the new Home that will serve as a constant reminder of our commitment to Massachusetts veterans.”
“While our Commonwealth’s veteran population and their medical needs are changing, the Holyoke Veterans’ Home’s mission remains the same: to provide care with honor and dignity. Veterans and their families will be depending on the Home for decades to come and this new state-of-the-art facility will help ensure they receive the critical medical care and services that they have earned in service to our nation. I am grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration, Congressman Neal, Secretary Santiago, and my colleagues in the Legislature for their steadfast commitment to the Holyoke Veterans’ Home and this reconstruction,” said Senator John Velis. “At the end of the day this project is all about the blood, sweat, and tears of our Commonwealth’s service-members and our recognition of the need to give them what they profoundly deserve. Most of all, I want to thank all the veterans, families, and community members from across Western Massachusetts who have advocated for a new Holyoke Veterans’ Home facility for so long. This has been a long process, but today we are one step closer to making this incredible project a reality.”
“I have worked with the veterans, their families, and the staff at the Holyoke Soldiers Home for twenty years, as a union field representative, community organizer, legislative staffer, and now as State Representative. To have a role in these people getting the Home they deserve is the honor of my public service career,” said Representative Pat Duffy.