New Tennessee State Veterans Home in Cleveland nears completion

CLEVELAND, Tennessee – The $ 47.9 million, 108-bed Tennessee State Veterans Home in Bradley County is expected to be completed in 2022.

“This project would not have been possible without the support of the community, and we are delighted to be able to provide a state-of-the-art facility for Southeastern Tennessee veterans,” said the board’s executive director. of Tennessee State Veterans’ Home, Ed. said Harry.

The multi-building facility will include features such as a bistro with a covered outdoor kitchen and a therapy trail. It rises against the backdrop of a wooded ridge and is several hundred meters from the road, which makes it surprisingly quiet for its proximity to a nearby industrial park.

Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes executive office spokeswoman Melanie Cook said in an email that the facility will open in the summer of 2022.

“Currently, we are working on interior and exterior finishes, which include wall, floor and ceiling coverings,” she said.

Officials said the project was about 80 percent complete.

“When construction started, there were a lot of weather-related delays,” Cook said. “We are now facing delays in the supply chain, but our outsourcing partners have done a great job in minimizing the impact so far. “

Officials in the state’s real estate asset management division, which reports to the Tennessee Department of General Services, are happy with the project, Cook said.

“Our partners are committed to providing a first-class facility for local veterans and the community,” a division statement said. “As we enter the final stages of completion, there are over 100 skilled workers on site every day, many of whom are veterans themselves. We appreciate their service to our country and to this veterans home. “

The “modern-rustic” single story home on nearly 28 acres on Westland Drive near the end of Kile Lane is a short drive from the Cleveland and Chattanooga Medical Centers and has private bedrooms with shared common areas which have stone fireplaces up to the ceiling and comfortable dining areas, officials said. The house will offer a state-of-the-art therapeutic gym and classes overlooking a wooded ridge and old farm pasture.

“We have six homes with 18 bedrooms each, and these homes share common areas,” said Taylor Wyrick, director of construction and facilities management for the Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes Board.

The houses are connected in a duplex configuration with common areas shared by the two houses within each duplex.

Residents of the house share a small kitchen area called a “servery” where food from the community centre’s main kitchen is served on steam tables and other serving items, Wyrick said as he walked the perimeter of the building. project recently.

“There is a dining room on either side of the dining room, and in the living room there are large two-sided fireplaces in each of these living rooms and the fireplace separates the living room from the dining room,” said he said, pointing to the chimneys that pointed. houses that allow gas fireplaces to escape.

Each duplex will be served by a neighborhood center containing support spaces such as a kitchen, medication rooms, clean and soiled laundry rooms, lockers and offices for staff, according to officials.

(READ MORE: Cleveland’s new veterans facility is not a ‘nursing home’, organizers say)

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$ 47.9 million, 108-bed Tennessee State Veterans’ Home in Cleveland 80% complete

The community center consists of a reception area, a large hall, a bistro, a therapy room, a hair / beauty salon, a chapel, a gym. activities and support services such as a laundry room and main kitchen, officials said. Staff offices and a conference room are also located in the community center.

Outdoor spaces include a covered outdoor kitchen, a therapy trail with multiple walking surfaces, and an outdoor dining area attached to the bistro. Each duplex has a furnished outdoor courtyard, officials said.

Wyrick, a US Air Force veteran, said each of the houses are named after a native local wild animal and the community center is called Starr Mountain Lodge, named after the mountain of the same name in the forest. Cherokee National Park of Polk County and visible from the property. .

The Christman Group is the general contractor. Project manager Scott Orsburn said the teams – which included a number of veterans – were working on final finishes like flooring, paint and cabinetry and finalizing the last details of the homes.

Orsburn pointed out the airbrushed details on huge structural concrete “timbers” at the entrance to the community center that were done on site by one of the contractors to make it look very real.

Landscaping and planting will be done in the spring, he said.

(READ MORE: Cleveland Bronze Star veteran James Stokes has served in over 250 combat patrols, engaged the enemy over 40 times)

Officials on August 21, 2019, opened the house, which was funded in part by a $ 30.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs approved by the state building commission, officials said.

The state has invested $ 10 million in the project. The city of Cleveland and Bradley County each donated more than $ 2 million, and an anonymous donation of $ 3 million complemented local fundraising by the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council. The families of Steve Williams, Thomas Williams and Robert Wright donated the land for the facility in 2010.

Nearly 50,000 veterans live in the six-county area that will be served by the Cleveland Home.

Dave Hall, chairman of the board of directors of the Southeastern Tennessee Veterans Council and a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army and National Guard, said he was happy to see the Cleveland house shut down. doors and that he was impressed with the quality of the installation. .

“We were hoping it would already be open now, but I’m happy that it’s progressing. It’s almost done,” Hall said. “When it is [finished], everyone will be happy. “

Hall said he and other board members visited the Veterans Home in Clarksville about a year ago, the newest addition to homes in the state and very similar to the one taking shape in Cleveland.

“This thing was fantastic. It was so pretty and really nice,” Hall said.

Hall noted how the design and decor differs from house to house in Clarksville so residents with cognitive challenges can stay better oriented when walking around. He said he was eager to see how the same ideas were applied to the Cleveland home so that veterans in his service area could enjoy the same types of benefits.

In the community center bistro at the Clarksville home, Hall said he spoke to a man and woman playing dominoes – an Army veteran and an Air Force veteran.

“The man said, ‘You know, we really enjoy this place,'” he said. “All of the residents we spoke to were really happy with the way they were treated, with the facility itself, and they were just plain happy.”

Cook said on Wednesday that the Cleveland house will join other veterans homes in Clarksville, Humboldt, Knoxville, Memphis and Murfreesboro. In a few years, a house in Arlington will also be similar in design to the Cleveland house, she said.

Contact Ben Benton at [email protected] or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.

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