Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) has approved the design concept for the new Rhode Island Veterans Home. With this approval, the stage has been set for a future award of matching funds by the federal government of 65 percent of the construction costs.
"We must be a state that provides certainty to its Veterans, who have done so much on our behalf," Governor Chafee said. "Last fall, Rhode Islanders expressed their desire to provide a new up-to-date facility for our state's Veterans by overwhelmingly approving Question No. 4 to issue general obligation bonds for the construction of a new Veterans' Home. Today's announcement is a great step forward in honoring our voters and our Veterans."
Steven M. Costantino, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said, "A new state-of-the-art facility in Bristol is a significant element in Governor Chafee's work to deliver a more seamless system of health and human services to Veterans and their families. It's gratifying that we are closer to our goal of building a Veterans Home that will have a substantial impact on improving the quality of life of Rhode Island Veterans and, in the future, of those now serving to preserve our freedoms."
The state anticipates an award letter from DVA Secretary, General Eric K. Shinseki in December 2013. The award amount is based on a tiered priority list of other approved Veterans home projects from around the country. The new home will be built on the grounds of the present Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol and will accommodate different levels of nursing care and expanded rehabilitation services along with an adult day-care facility.
In November 2012, 77 percent of Rhode Island voters overwhelmingly approved issuing a $94 million bond to finance a new Rhode Island Veterans Home. Durkee, Brown, Viveiros, Werenfels Architects were selected through a request for proposals to work with the Department of Human Services Division of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Administration Division of Capital Projects on an engineering study and a design and feasibility analysis. Once that work was completed, an application for a Veterans Home construction grant was prepared and then submitted in early April 2013 to the DVA Office of Construction and Facility Management. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs approval, any federal matching funding will cover costs retroactively to April 23, 2013.
"The Rhode Island Veterans Home has served Rhode Island war Veterans since 1891 and the time has come to build something that will be available for Veterans for many years to come," said Sandra M. Powell, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. "We are pleased that this process has gone so quickly, and we look forward to moving toward a 21st century Rhode Island Veterans Home that will meet the present and emerging needs of our Veterans."