Construction of the Bemidji Veterans’ House is now 45% complete – Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Veterans Home, which is currently under construction, is 45% complete and is expected to open in mid-2023.

The project took years to prepare with construction starting in August 2021.

The home, which will serve veterans in need of skilled nursing care, opened applications Sept. 15, and Minnesota Veterans Home clinical director Caroline Schauer said more than 70 applications had been received for the Bemidji Veterans Home at the during the first five days.

The Bemidji Veterans Home will consist of 72 residential units with private bathrooms which will be divided into two “neighborhoods” and four “households” of 18 residents each, providing a more family-friendly atmosphere.

The design reflects a Northwoods cabin feel to the public spaces which include a town center with a small cafe/café, a theater/meeting room, a family dining room, a meditation room/chapel, and a club room.

Photos of other completed veterans homes in the state are displayed during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bemidji Veterans Home on August 26, 2021, near the Sanford Health campus.

(Annalize Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

The MDVA is also building new Veterans Homes in Montevideo and Preston and applications are also being accepted for these two locations.

“County Veterans Services officers have been very helpful in assisting our future residents and their families through the application process,” Schauer said.

Applications are reviewed by the MDVA and then placed on a waiting list. Several months before the house opens, applicants will be contacted for more information about their health care needs and a financial application will be completed.

Admissions will be staggered and gradual, and only a small number of residents will be admitted until the home is approved by a Department of Veterans Affairs inspection.

Schauer emphasized that the facility will be a qualified nursing home and that residents must demand that level of care. Typically, residents are admitted after spending several months on a waiting list. They may be admitted directly from home, from another community nursing facility or, in rare cases, from a hospital. There will be no assisted living or home care provided at the new Veterans Home.

Since admissions won’t begin for nearly a year, MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke encouraged applicants to work with their county Veterans Services officer regarding their health care needs in the meantime.

At a recent meeting, MDVA executives shared plans to hire 164 full-time and part-time employees. Recruitment has also started for the Home Administrator who will be hired by the end of 2022 with other leadership positions to follow.

Job postings will be posted at Job applications can be emailed to [email protected]

Douglas Hughes, Deputy Commissioner of the MDVA, noted that although it is not yet open, the veterans home already receives a lot of support from the community. Veterans’ healthcare donations are welcome and will improve the quality of life for future residents. Donations are often used for recreational activities or special events.