As a means of combating the growing number of Armed Forces veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) initiated the creation of specialized housing at many VA Medical Centers. Via a competitive process, a real estate developer was selected to construct and operate transitional housing for these veterans. As a part of this process, Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center administration determined its transitional housing should primarily serve female veterans or veterans with families (spouses or children).
The design of Valor Grove uniquely blends a historic building with a new addition to create a facility singularly suited to serve those who have served their country. Living accommodations and support service spaces are distributed equally throughout both buildings to create a single, unified facility. The circa 1939 existing building provides 25 apartments on a single floor, with transitional services offices and miscellaneous support spaces located in a partial basement. The new 3-story building includes the primary entrance and lobby, administrative offices, and 25 apartments.
Valor Grove enlivens the historic building with an adaptive reuse for multi-family residential use. Included in the TVAMC Historic District, the 30,000sf Georgian Colonial Revival building was renovated according to the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.” Herrington Architects and its historic preservation consultant coordinated closely with the State Historic Preservation Officer to ensure this building, originally constructed for treatment of psychiatric patients, was renovated in a manner that honors both the original purpose and the future residents.
The 30,000sf addition continues the Georgian Colonial Revival style and blends seamlessly with the TVAMC campus. Clad in brick, the building’s broad portico welcomes residents and guests to Valor Grove. Windows are arranged formally to reflect the ordered nature of the armed forces, as well as to maintain the architectural style. The site plan and landscaping are a balance of gracious plantings of a residence and tailored, minimal landscaping of a military installation.
“Valor Grove“ offers a harbor of security and comfort that encourages veterans and their families to re-enter society and the work force. Each of the 50 apartments is equipped with a full kitchen and is fully furnished including linens, towels, etc. Counseling and training assists the veterans in their transition to civilian life by helping them recover from physical, mental, or substance abuse or by strengthening their family. A fitness room provides residents an opportunity to improve their physical conditioning. A multi-purpose room offers a flexible venue for meetings and social gatherings.