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Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Grand Rapids Veterans Home

Project Description

In 2016, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) developed a long-range plan to address existing and future healthcare needs for Michigan veterans. They chose to pursue a plan to expand the services provided by Michigan’s veterans homes, and to decrease displacement of veterans and the travel time for their loved ones. Seven new state facilities were proposed, and the State of Michigan submitted a Certificate of State Match Funding for the first two of seven.

One of these first two projects involved improving the existing Grand Rapids location. In partnership with TowerPinkster (Architect), Prein&Newhof assisted with this community-style residential project for the MVAA. Prein&Newhof provided the site design engineering, geotechnical engineering, survey, Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA I) and environmental assessments (EA).

The overhaul to the Grand Rapids Veterans Home, estimated at $53 million, provides new residence for 128 veterans. The new design is a village model, with four small–house neighborhoods, each intended for 32 residents. Every resident has his/her own bedroom and bathroom, and shares a common gathering area and kitchen space. The neighborhoods surround a 33,000-square-foot community center with offices, occupational and physical therapy spaces, and convenient amenities such as a barbershop and café. The project was designed to be built at one elevation for optimal ADA accessibility. The surrounding grounds incorporate additional recreation opportunities and are landscaped with paths and gardens.

Originally built in 1885, the Grand Rapids Veterans Home sits on 90 lush acres near the bank of the Grand River. Preserving the property’s longstanding history while preparing the north lot for construction presented unique challenges. Underground tunnels, abandoned railroad beds, and coal storage were discovered in primary areas that needed new or updated stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure. A few existing facilities were demolished to make room for the new multi-unit facility.

Construction began in 2019 and the improved Grand Rapids Veterans Home was fully operational in 2021.


John VerPlank, PE
Project Manager


The MVAA applied to the federal Veterans Affairs Home Construction Grant Program to fund construction of two veterans home projects—the Grand Rapids Veterans Home and a new veterans' home in Chesterfield, MI. As part of the grant application, the State of Michigan agreed to a 35% funding match for these projects. In 2017, the U.S. Veterans Affairs Agency authorized $88 million (65% federal contribution) in grant funding for these two projects. The Michigan Legislature approved $49 million matching funds for the $137 million total construction cost.