Three long-vacant buildings constructed for returning Civil War veterans will soon see new life.

As part of a $24.6 million project, The Alexander Company hopes to begin construction next spring on rehabilitating the structures at the Soldiers Home Complex behind the VA Medical Center.

It follows the 2021 completion of a $44 million project that saved Soldiers Home’s signature building, Old Main, and a series of smaller structures by rehabilitating the buildings into housing for veterans facing homelessness.

The three latest structures, Ward Memorial Hall, Soldiers Home Chapel and the former Governor’s Mansion, will see new uses designed to support the veterans that now live on the grounds and the thousands that visit.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has publicly sought to find new uses for the buildings since 2018, but was unsuccessful until Alexander stepped forward with nonprofit partner The Center for Veterans Issues (CVI).

Alexander and the VA led a tour of the structures Thursday.

The wood-framed chapel is in the worst shape and appears to have become a popular hangout, and bathroom, for nearby wildlife. It opened in 1889 and, according to a sign on the door warning parishoners to go elsewhere, shuttered in 1989.

The chapel will be rehabilitated to host faith-based services again, but will also be able to host gatherings, workshops and training sessions.



This article was originally published by Urban Milwaukee.