Salina City Commissioners Monday evening denied a request by Salina Regional Health Center to demolish the former St. John’s Hospital facility.
Previously, Back in December of last year, Salina’s Heritage Commission approved plans to demolish the buildings, agreeing that restoring them would be too costly. The issue then had to come before the city commission for final approval. At that meeting, Jim Ravenkamp filed a protest to the demolition plan. He believed there were ways that the facility can be used. Salina City Commissioners then delayed approving the demolition.
Officials had hoped that the issue would become a moot point, with the facility being transformed into affordable senior housing. Overland Park based Comprise Community Development Company had expressed interest in the property. Comprise and Salina Regional Health Center signed a real estate purchase contract in March. The sale was contingent upon due diligence inspections. Comprised had intended to convert the existing building into affordable senior housing. Plans included 104 one and two bedroom units. The company would have maintain all historic portions. It was anticipated construction could begin in the fall, and take about a year.
Commissioners were told Monday that the plan never came to fruition. After unsuccessfully trying to find other interested parties in the facility, the hospital again is proceeding with a plan to demolish the facility.
The St. John’s campus, which is owned by Salina Regional Health Center, has been vacant since 2010. At the time the hospital said it would cost between $1 million and $2 million to demolish the seven-building campus. Redeveloping the buildings would cost more.
The action on Monday does not mean the facility will not be demolished in the future. The hospital can re-apply for demolition, demonstrating why it needs to be demolished.
St. John’s was started in 1914 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia and operated by the Wichita-based Sisters of St. Joseph until 1995.