Veterans home set to open Nov. 1
by David Atchison
PELL CITY — The official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home is less than three weeks away.

“We’re mailing out some invitations next week,” said Kim Justice, veterans home coordinator for the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Office in Montgomery.

She said there is an official ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 1.

“The public is invited,” Justice said. “We’ll be taking people on tours after the ceremony.”

She said workers are finishing the last of the detail work to the $50 million facility, which will be home to 254 veterans.

“The final inspection is expected to be completed sometime next week,” Justice said.

She said workers are completing the final punch list of work that must be completed.

When the final inspection is completed, officials can obtain a certificate of completion so veterans can start being housed in the 240,000 square foot facility located across from St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital on Veterans Parkway.

Justice said HMR Veterans Service, which specializes in maintaining and operating state veterans homes in South Carolina, Maryland and Alabama, has hired personnel for the upper management positions for the new facility.

She anticipates the first group of veterans will arrive at the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in November.

She said HMR Veterans Service will ramp up operations at the facility slowly, over a period of time.

“It will take about nine months to fully staff the home,” Justice said.

The state-of-the-art veterans home sits on 27 acres, and features a town center highlighted by a large rock fireplace. The new facility has a lot of open space, inside and out, with a sports café and large “Eagles Landing Dining Hall in the town hall center.

There are secured courtyards throughout the sprawling complex.

All rooms are single occupancy.

Officials said the new facility is the first of its kind, with more space for veterans.

The facility has an assisted living unit, skilled nursing unit and a more secure memory care unit for veterans.

Officials said the new facility has a more “home like” atmosphere for veterans.

Manda Mountain is director of the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home.

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