Payette Associates, Inc. retained GZA to provide geotechnical engineering, LSP services and natural resources services for design of the reconstruction of the state-owned and operated Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. The project is made more complicated by the requirement to maintain function of the existing hospital/long-term care facility while the new building is constructed and brought online.


The new Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke long-term care facility will consist of a new 9-story building providing 234 beds and approximately 348,000 square feet sited on grounds of the existing Soldiers’ Home at Holyoke. Functional building areas include residential single rooms with private bathrooms, communal kitchens, dining and living areas, staff and support spaces, multipurpose rooms, one community center, a chapel, a center for physical and occupational therapy, an on-site dispensing pharmacy, office space, a food preparation facility, Adult Day Health Care program, and other essential building support functions. A new 4,960 SF Maintenance Garage for storage and servicing of facility maintenance equipment, to be attached to the Soldiers’ Home facility at the southwest corner of the basement level and includes office and bathroom space for staff. A new Canopy will be constructed as an outdoor covered space over new landscaped area south of the Soldiers’ Home main entrance. The canopy will include a portion of work physically attached to the Soldiers’ Home to serve as a covered drop-off area for patients, visitors, and staff.

GZA provided the following services:

  • Geotechnical Engineering: Subsurface explorations and geotechnical design recommendations for foundations, ground improvement, mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) slopes, retaining walls and other site construction.Design for large-scale temporary support of excavation systems
  • LSP Services: Soil pre-characterization for management and disposal
  • Natural Resources: Wetland evaluation/delineation and permitting support


GZA provided innovative solutions to complicated geotechnical concerns related to prior development at the site, including areas of deep poor-quality/undocumented fill placed during construction of the original facility in the 1950’s and 1960’s. GZA recommended a combination of ground improvement and mechanically stabilized earth construction to increase slope stability and reduce the potential for large total and differential settlement of supported infrastructure. GZA designed an extensive soldier pile and lagging system with tiebacks to support the existing hospital building during construction of the new facility, which will require excavations up to 25 feet deep as close as 20-feet from the existing buildings that must remain functional until the new facility is in operation.

GZA also performed a large-scale exploration program to pre-characterize site soils and identify likely management requirements prior to the start of excavation which helped to reduce uncertainty regarding the cost of management of the approximately 70,000 cubic yards of excavated soil which will be generated during the course of the project.