Preston Veterans Home design scaled back to 54 beds

November 29, 2018

The Preston Veterans Home is one step closer to reality, but the final building will host 54 beds.

According to City Administrator Joe Hoffman, they recently learned that the $32 million budget raised would support fewer veterans due to facility standards of the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Administration. $40 million would have been needed for closer to 72 beds.

“What it comes down to is that this isn’t a typical skilled nursing facility,” Hoffman said. “It’s going to be what we would maybe call a ‘deluxe facility’ with top-notch services for those veterans. It’s going to have more of a resort or lodge feel and appearance to it. There’s some real strong efforts to get away from institutional-type facilities. In order to treat our veterans right, it costs more per bed to make a facility like this.”

The local donations of $1,065,000 that were donated by Sept. 28 and state contribution of $10.2 million will potentially be combined with a $22.5 million match by the federal government, per approval.

But the latest adjustment isn’t foreign to those who have worked on this veterans home plan for the last four to five years. Hoffman said they have seen a flux of predictions throughout the project, with up to 140 beds projected at one point.

“Maybe you could have built a 72-bed typical nursing home for that budget,” he said, “but to build to the standards that the MDVA has, 54 beds is the right fit.”

Hoffman, however, said he does not know the specifics of the building plan, but a public meeting Dec. 6 will reveal those details.

“We’re not privy to any of the design yet, ourselves,” he said. “I’m just as excited about the sixth as anyone else is, and it’s very exciting that the project is closer to reality now than it ever has been.”

Project manager Bee Yang said the pre-design building amenities will be unveiled during the public meeting at the Preston Serviceman’s Club at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“The project is currently going through the pre-design, and we’ll have to get that package ready to be submitted to Washington, D.C., for review and approval for the additional funding to come up with the total funds that are required,” Yang said. “For us to make this project viable moving forward, the best option for us was to bring that (bed) number down.”

Until then, Hoffman said it is a good idea for veterans and their families to get in touch with their local county veteran services now. The nearest existing MDVA home is 135 miles away with a more than 550-person waiting list, and some 42,323 veterans live within the 15-county area centered on Preston.

“There are waiting lists for veterans homes, so you definitely want to get on that list,” Hoffman said. “The three new homes will help alleviate that, but it will take a little time to develop those as well.”

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