Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Friday, April 4, paving the way to build a new skilled nursing facility at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.
The bill authorizes the state to issue $80 million in bonds for John R. Moses Hall, named after a World War II veteran who served as state veterans affairs secretary for more than 20 years, beginning in 1962.
The new 200-bed facility will replace Burns-Clemens Hall, built in 1959, and Ove Hall, built in 1929.
Once the project is completed, residents will be moved from Stordock Hall to Moses Hall.
“Moses Hall will be built to today’s long-term care delivery and technology standards ensuring King will continue its exceptional tradition of ensuring our heroes live their final years protected in comfort and dignity,” said State Rep. Kevin Petersen, who co-authored Assembly Bill 733 that Walker signed Friday.
Instead of an institutional design, Moses Hall will have small living units for 8-12 residents, each with its own living room and dining room.
The new facility will also address safety issues for dementia patients.
Currently, residents with dementia are housed on Ainsworth Hall’s second floor, making their evacuation difficult in case of an emergency. Moses Hall will be designed to house dementia patients on the ground floor.
“Veterans – we cannot, we will not, we must not forget who they are,” Petersen said. “For they reflect America. Whether we welcome them back to civilian life upon leaving the military or we ensure their comfort in their waning years, we have an obligation to those who have risked their all for all of us.”
Federal funding will pay for 65 percent of the project. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2016 and take about two years.
The Wisconsin Veterans Home at King is located on a 325-acre campus. The facility was founded in 1887 by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War Veterans Organization. It is the largest skilled nursing facility in the state, serving more than 700 residents.
Walker signed five other bills while in King.
Assembly Bill 244 creates a special license plate with the words, “In God We Trust.” Fees from the purchase of these plates will support the Veterans Trust Fund.
Assembly Bill 734 updates outdated language in the Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs’ administrative code so that it aligns with other state and federal statutes.
Assembly Bill 805 enables the Department of Veterans Affairs to award grants to non-profit organizations to provide assistance to veterans and their families.
Senate Bill 330 allows eligible state employees to purchase years of creditable military service within the Wisconsin Retirement System, thereby encouraging state employees to return to state service after an active duty tour.
Senate Bill 370 encourages state agencies to contract with companies owned by veterans with disabilities.