The Alaska Legislature agreed to a budget before the Wednesday night deadline, forwarding it to the governor for approval. The budget provides $20 million for a new medical and public health center in St. Petersburg. Sen. Bert Stedman, who represents Petersburg, proposed the amount in the Senate budget version and a conference committee of both houses agreed on the amount on Tuesday.
Petersburg Medical Center CEO Phil Hofstetter told KFSK he was excited about the funding, but remained cautiously optimistic until the deal closed. There are still hurdles before the funding arrives.
The $20 million would come from the Coronavirus Capital Project Fund. The legislature’s approval allows the Dunleavy administration to apply for the federal grant money. The new medical center project already received $8 million in March under the federal omnibus bill.
The medical facility is owned by the borough, but it is managed separately by the medical center and the hospital board.
Hofstetter says the funding would be used for the first phase of the project, getting it ready in spades. This would include site selection, environmental study, and full planning and design.
The current medical center is in the city center with little room for expansion. A master plan completed in 2020 determined that green sites away from the current downtown location are less expensive and allow for more design options.
PMC has been saying for years that the current facility is undersized with plumbing and electrical issues. Part of the building was built in the 1950s. A 2015 assessment found that most of the facility was at the end of its life and would need to be replaced.
A new medical center campus has been estimated at around $90-110 million.
The Governor has 20 business days to review the Legislature’s budget and approve or veto appropriations.