HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state announced Monday that a vendor has been selected to develop and plan the future renovation of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. 

Payette has been contracted for 12 weeks to complete an assessment of improvements needed in the facility and how to implement them. 

This includes addressing infection control, cost estimates, financing options, and the timeline of the project. The plan must be finalized to meet the April 15 deadline for the federal Veterans’ Affairs’ State Home Construction Grant application.  

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home coalition released a statement following the announcement saying there are “some concerns.” Full statement below:

When we speak of re-imaging the future, we should not be constrained by the past.  Adult Day Healthcare, enhanced behavioral health services and services for Veterans requiring our state’s help with substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries must be part of any plan moving forward. This is our state’s moment to get it right. 

While we applaud the selection of Payette to design a new Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke since they are familiar with the 2012 design of the Home and with the concept of the Veterans Affairs small house design and current requirements, we do have some concerns with the state’s plan.  They are: 

First, in respect to a needs assessment and basing the design on the current and future demographic needs of Veterans in Massachusetts.  This should not be code words for reducing the size and bed capacity of the Soldiers’ Home. There is a significant demand in the Veteran community in our state for long-term care and our Coalition stands firm that the state should maintain a total capacity of at least 250 private room/private bath bedrooms, which was the approximate census before the pandemic.  Any design should also include a much-needed Adult Day Healthcare Program, which would include enhanced outdoor recreational area for use by all residents of the facility. 

Second, in respect to engaging stakeholders, the Coalition has the expertise, desire and commitment to provide informed input to the process, and we wish to be contacted so we can have a collaborative and purposeful dialogue during the entirety of the planning phase.” 

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition