District still wants the CR Garberville site for new hospital

The College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees will appraise and put out a request for sale bids on its Garberville instructional site.
The College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees will appraise and put out a request for sale bids on its Garberville instructional site. Contributed fire photo
The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District is moving forward with trying to build a new hospital on the CR Garberville instructional site.
The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District is moving forward with trying to build a new hospital on the CR Garberville instructional site. Contributed file photo

The College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees requested the Garberville instructional site be appraised in anticipation for the possible sale of the site to a community group.

The trustees previously denied selling the property to the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District but district officials remain undeterred.

“In looking at all the site this is the site that makes the most sense for us so we’re going to work with College of the Redwoods to secure that property,” SHCHD CEO Matt Rees said.

Due to update to seismic standards in state building regulations the current hospital, Jerold Phelps Community Hospital, will have to close in 2030. In order to continue offering emergency healthcare service in Garberville a new hospital must be built from scratch to meet the regulations, Rees said.

CR will publish requests for proposals from community groups, public agencies, local governments and nonprofit groups who may also want to buy the site.

“I expect the appraisal to come back at the end of July,” CR President Keith Snow-Flamer said this will give the trustees an idea of what the basic market value of the property is.

In the coming weeks the requests for proposals will be put out and 60 days after the last one in published the trustees at a meeting will have the option to make a decision or direct staff. They can choose not to make any sales, Snow-Flamer said.

“If we felt the agency wasn’t the right fit for the community we wouldn’t have to accept it,” CR Board of Trustees president Sally Biggin said.

“The bottom line for us is to make sure the community understands we still want to offer education down there.”

Rees previously said the district is willing to lease space in the existing structures on the site to the college so classes can still be held.

“The board entered into this process to support the hospital,” Snow-Flamer said the board didn’t set out with the intent of selling. “Regardless if College of the Redwoods owns the site or not we are still committed to bringing education to Southern Humboldt.”

While Rees and other district employees are following up with trying to secure this site, they are also working diligently to get funding that will help the district secure a loan to build a new hospital. Rees said though voters didn’t approve of raising the existing parcel tax of $125 to $170 in May, the district will ask voters to extend the current $125 tax for 12 more years instead of letting it expire in 2018.

“If it does not get passed this November we will be without that assistance and that puts the hospital in jeopardy,” he said.

Other options further down the road than November are also being looked at, Rees said.

“We need to build a new facility by 2030 so at some point in the future we will come to the voters again for a revenue bond or replacement parcel tax,” he said.

More information on the hospital district can be found at shchd.org and more CR information is available at redwoods.edu.

Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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