State budget includes funds to replace Jacobetti Home for Veterans
MARQUETTE — Michigan Veteran Homes has released details of its fiscal year 2022-23 budget, which includes $34.2 million in state funding for the construction of a new state veterans home to replace the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, located at 425 Fisher St. in Marquette.
Some changes are expected.
“It will not be in the same spot that it is in right now for a couple reasons,” MVH Executive Director Anne Zerbe told The Mining Journal. “One, we want to continue serving people while they’re doing construction, and if we tried to build in the same location, that obviously wouldn’t work.
“Also, the new design would be a single-story building, which we know is probably going to be better for a lot of our folks.”
That design, Zerbe said, would better serve people with limited mobility.
She said MVH is in the initial stages of trying to identify an appropriate site for the new home, which would include conversations with officials from the city of Marquette and Marquette Township to see what’s available.
Replacement of the D.J. Jacobetti Home in Marquette stems from recommendations developed by a 2016 work group, convened to assess the provision of long-term care services to veterans in the state’s veteran homes, MVH said in a news release. Michigan recently completed the first phase in the execution of the work group’s vision, which included the construction of two new veterans homes — a Macomb County facility in southeast Michigan and another in west Michigan to replace the aging veterans facility in Grand Rapids.
The work group — composed of health care experts, veteran stakeholders and legislators — recommended transformation of Michigan’s care model for state veterans homes to include the construction of home-like facilities that focus on personalized care and community.
The D.J. Jacobetti replacement will be similar in design to the recently completed homes in Macomb County and Grand Rapids, incorporating award-winning best practices in long-term care design and construction.
“The building on Fisher Street has been a home to Upper Peninsula veterans for 41 years, with the staff and volunteers making it a true home. Now that tradition can continue in a new building with a modern design that provides five-star services with the same loving care,” said Brad Slagle, retired administrator for the D.J. Jacobetti Home and current board member for Michigan Veteran Homes, in a news release.
The new home will serve more than 100 veteran residents who will live in “neighborhoods” that provide each member with their own bedroom and bathroom, and have common gathering and kitchen spaces, MVH said. These neighborhoods will connect to a community center with clinical and therapeutic services. The facility also will include amenities such as a barbershop and salon, a large space for full member and community meetings, and courtyards and green spaces.
Zerbe estimated it will take between 18 and 24 months for construction of the facility.
The support provided by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature ensures the state’s continued ability to provide critical long-term care services to Upper Peninsula veterans, Slagle said.
The total estimated project cost for the new home is $97.6 million, funded with $34.2 million in state funding and an anticipated 65% match of $63.6 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, MVH said in the release.
Zerbe said that in the meantime, the current building will operate with the residents already living there.
“There are things to be determined about what the state wants to do with that location when we’re no longer operating that building,” she said. “I don’t think any of that has been determined yet.”
The Jacobetti building was built in the 1950s, and was the site of the former St. Mary’s Hospital, she said.
“The new construction kind of reflects a difference in how we’re approaching long-term care, which is providing a more homelike environment,” said Zerbe, who pointed out that the former hospital had a more institutional feel. Also, everyone will have their own room and bathroom, with more light and space, in the new home.
“Each of those rooms has its own window, things of that nature, which we know is important when it comes to getting natural light, having access to the outdoors,” Zerbe said.