When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight (11-10-20) it will consider an offer from the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium to buy the former Sitka Community Hospital building. 

SEARHC acquired Sitka Community Hospital through a merger in 2019, but the city retained ownership of the building and land. SEARHC is currently leasing the building to house the long-term care unit. The health consortium also uses the facility to provide urgent care and rehab services.

According to a letter from SEARHC CEO Charles Clement, as the consortium expands those services, improvements must be made to the building. He writes, “This level of investment will only be feasible with ownership of the facility.” As the hospital ramps up for the upcoming expansion of the Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center on Japonski Island, SEARHC may need to relocate more staff and services to the Sitka Community Hospital building during construction.

The assembly must consider whether it wants to sell the property, if competitive bidding is necessary or if they will seek an exemption, and whether to put the sale to an advisory vote in a 2021 general or special election.

In other business, the assembly will consider establishing a Climate Action Task Force, and a resolution “Encouraging people in the city to continue COVID-19 prevention efforts for keeping Sitka’s Schools open.” 

The Sitka Assembly meets tonight at 6 p.m. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly.  Due to the high COVID-19 alert level, citizens are encouraged to give comment telephonically. To sign up for telephonic testimony, call the Municipal Clerk’s Office at 747-1826 or email clerk@cityofsitka.org prior to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.

A memo from the municipal clerk’s office reminds those wishing to attend the meeting in person that masks are required in city buildings when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.