Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Rapid Planning Phase of Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke Expedited Capital Project Begins

Rapid Planning Phase of Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke Expedited Capital Project Begins
Engineering firm Payette begins Rapid Planning Phase, engaging stakeholders to inform project roadmap

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that a vendor has been selected and has started work on an expedited capital project to reimagine the future of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. Payette has been awarded the contract for the first phase of the expedited capital project, the Rapid Planning Phase, which consists of completing a needs assessment and conducting stakeholder engagement. This work will inform the development of the implementation plan to meet the April 15, 2021 federal Veterans’ Affairs’ State Home Construction Grant application deadline. 
Payette’s 12-week engagement work will identify a sustainable, public health-centered, implementation roadmap to provide significant upgrades to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. More about the capital project is available here.

“Our administration is committed to supporting important facility improvements for the Soldiers’ Home to ensure the facility can provide the best care possible for the veteran residents who have served our country with honor,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to this next phase of these planned upgrades which include both immediate infection control solutions and longer-term improvements.”

“This capital improvement project provides an opportunity to reimagine the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home to meet the current and future needs of our rapidly diversifying veteran population,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “It’s a critical priority for the Commonwealth as we seek to ensure the heroes who have served our country are able to access the very best care possible.”
“We have a unique opportunity to shift the models of long-term care that we offer to our veterans, following the pandemic that has shined a spotlight on necessary and urgent infection control needs,” said Acting Veterans’ Services Secretary Cheryl Lussier Poppe. “We look forward to the continued progress that will be made at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, ensuring our most vulnerable demographic of veterans are cared for in the safest, and most appropriate environment.” 

“We are continuing to move forward with our comprehensive planning process for making necessary capital improvements at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan. “This upcoming work and our continued collaboration with state, local and legislative partners will help ensure the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home accommodates the current and future needs of Massachusetts veterans.”
“We are pleased to be partnering with Payette for this rapid planning process,” said DCAMM Commissioner Carol Gladstone. “They bring a great understanding of the needs and issues our veterans are facing today.  
The scope of work includes four key elements: 

  1. Update needs assessment: Develop an updated needs assessment to include current and future demographic needs of veterans in Massachusetts. 
  2. Engage stakeholders: Using a variety of methods, gather input from a broad base of stakeholders to develop strategic guidelines for transforming the Home, including veterans and their family members, staff and management, members of the Board of Trustees, federal and state legislative leaders, local officials and interest groups, veteran advocates, and administration officials. 

  1. Prioritize infection control: Review and evaluate ongoing infection control measures and infrastructure upgrades to ensure the highest standards are met in light of the pandemic. 

  1. Explore feasible implementation scenarios: Outline up to three scenarios with order-of-magnitude cost estimates, financing options, and realistic timelines for regulatory approvals, design, and construction. 

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.

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