HOLYOKE — The Baker-Polito administration filed “An Act Financing the Reconstruction of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke,” which would provide $400 million in capital authorization for a major project to reconstruct the long-term-care facility at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
This bill provides the capital authorization that would allow the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) to construct a new facility on the site of the current Soldiers’ Home that would meet the needs of the veterans of Western Mass. and their families.
The capital project is on an expedited timeline, necessitated by the April 15 deadline for the VA State Home Construction Grant Program, which would provide 65% matching federal funds. To meet that deadline, DCAMM must have this authorization available by April 1, which requires this bond bill to be enacted by mid-March, with a terms bill filed and enacted soon afterwards. The design-development phase must be completed by Aug. 1 to be eligible for this cycle of the grant program.
“Building a new, state-of-the-art long-term-care facility at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke will ensure we can continue providing quality care for current veterans residing at the home, as well as future residents,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “I look forward to working with our partners in the Legislature to pass this bill so that we can transform the future of the home, meet the next major deadline in the capital project, and continue to secure funding from our federal partners at the Veterans’ Administration.”
The current Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was constructed before modern design standards for medical facilities, said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, “and the administration has taken immediate steps to address urgent capital and infection-control needs, but it is clear that a major reconstruction of the campus is necessary for the safety, health, and comfort of future generations of veterans and staff. We are pleased that the planning process involved significant opportunity for community and stakeholder input into the plan’s development to date.”
Massachusetts National Guard Maj. Gen. Gary Keefe, who chairs the board of trustees for the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, added that “I have been pleased by the rapid planning process and the Baker-Polito administration’s commitment to hearing and responding to the views and concerns of the veteran residents, families, and staff on a wide range of priorities, including bed capacity. This is a great example of how we can achieve positive outcomes for our Western Massachusetts veterans, and we look forward to serving them in this beautiful new facility.”