HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state took another step in its long term improvement project at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke Tuesday.
The state-appointed an engineering company to begin the project on the future renovation of the home.
Seventy-six veterans lost their lives after COVID-19 spread throughout the home. To ensure an outbreak like this doesn’t happen again, the state has started an expedited capital project to make long term improvements to the home. They hired the engineering firm, Payette to take the lead in the first phase of the project.
The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition has been advocating for veterans here and improvements to the facility for a while now. They said they trust the company to do the project, but they want to make sure their input is included in their plans.
“Talk is cheap, actions are believable. It’s now time for action. The state has to take that and come forth and say yes we are going forth and demonstrating our concerns, our appreciation, the sacrifice for veterans, and do it right,” Former Holyoke Soldiers Home Superintendent Paul Barabani said.
Barabani told 22News this plan to renovate and expand the Soldiers’ Home goes back to 2012. He wants the same number of beds in the new facility and private rooms with showers for all veterans. He also advocated for an adult day health care program so veterans can stay with their loved ones in their community.
Payette will be responsible for evaluating financing options, infection control measures, and will determine timelines for design and construction.