Franklin, NH What started as a conversation with governor Sununu regarding deepening Easterseals NH’s long-term commitment to military service members, veterans and their families has evolved into a partnership with the state to provide a central hub for housing and a variety of services designed to give back to those who have given so much. The blueprints for the 15-acre campus are complete and construction will be underway in September for what will be a roughly 15-month schedule.
“Our military service members stood tall for us, defending the freedoms and liberties we hold dear,” said governor Chris Sununu. “Like never before, New Hampshire is creating the gold standard for the health and wellness of America’s heroes. In the Granite State, neighbors take care of neighbors. It comes with great pride that we are able to create this historic, one-of-a-kind, all-encompassing campus.”
“New Hampshire has one of the largest per capita populations of veterans in the country, so we know the demand is high,” said Maureen Beauregard, president and CEO of Easterseals NH. “This new campus will create a singular pathway to connect military service members, veterans, and their families with the services, programs, and assistance they need. It is a project of passion for all of us at Easterseals NH and we are deeply honored to be a part of such an important mission.”
The campus will include affordable rental housing apartments, a hub of services, a retreat center, and therapeutic recreation opportunities for military service members, veterans, and their families.
• Affordable housing: 30 units of permanent affordable rental housing for veterans.
• Hub of services: Co-location of multiple military service organizations to ensure continuum of care for each visitor to the campus.
• Retreat center with meeting and event space: 20 short-term rental bedrooms, some with kitchenettes; and opportunities to hold events/trainings.
• Therapeutic recreation components: Access to the rail trail and Merrimack River; a to-be-built multipurpose building for equine and dog therapy, a rock climbing wall, ropes course, and more; a military-themed playground; and an outdoor performance stage.
Since 2007, Easterseals NH’s Veterans Count program has provided care to over 9,000 service members, veterans, and their families. With the new Military and Veterans Campus, Easterseals NH will be able to deepen and extend services to the military community.
“Our Veterans stood strong for us, and we owe it to them to stand strong for them,” said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs. “I am excited to see this great partnership come together to create this first-of-its-kind campus right here in the Granite State. Not only does this project represent an incredible opportunity to support our Veterans, but will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource to Veterans in our state once completed.”
Easterseals NH was awarded $23 million from the state of NH through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Recovery Funds (SFRF) to develop a campus for military members and their families. Additional funds will need to be raised to complete the retreat center, build the multipurpose therapeutic recreation building, military-themed playground, and outdoor performance stage.
PROCON Design-Build has the task of turning the plans into a reality and provided the renderings for the official project launch. “As a long-time supporter of Easterseals, PROCON is honored to have been selected as their design-builder of the Easterseals Military and Veteran Campus in Franklin, NH. We are dedicated to delivering high-quality affordable housing and a retreat center for our veterans,” said John Stebbins, managing director of PROCON.
“This project is the culmination of years of exploring new and revolutionary ways to better serve this specific population of families in New Hampshire and we are thrilled to be taking this dramatic step towards fulfilling our goal of serving those who have served our country,” says Andy MacWilliam, chairman of the board of directors, Easterseals NH. “We can’t wait to get started.”