After destructive fire, YKHC alcohol treatment center under construction again

Kris Manke walks through the new PATC. (Photo by Ben Matheson, KYUK - Bethel)
Kris Manke walks through the new PATC. (Photo by Ben Matheson, KYUK – Bethel)

The skeleton of the new Phillips Ayagnirvik Treatment Center, PATC, is coming up quickly and aims to be closed in for a winter of work. Kris Manke is Director of Construction for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, which is leading up the project. He says about 15 crew members are working now, including close to 70 percent local Alaska Native hires.

“We do all of our own electrical, mechanical, framing, siding, we self perform all of that,” said Manke.

The $12-million, 16,000 square foot facility is under construction for a second time following a fire in October that destroyed it when it was 90 percent framed in. YKHC doesn’t want to take chances the second time. A chain link fence surrounds the site and a 24-hour security team stand watch. Big floodlights shine at the building at night. Manke says having to start from scratch is hard on his team.

“It was hard for me because they all are my guys, but for the guys who were actually building it, we should ask them the question. It’s gotta be really hard, I mean guys were crying when they saw their work burning up that night,” said Manke.

YKHC is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the fire that destroyed the alcohol treatment center. YKHC says it was a criminal act that started the blaze last October during construction.

An investigation from the state Fire Marshal’s office said the cause of the fire was ‘undetermined’. Though investigators ruled out all possible mechanical and electrical causes, their summary does not explicitly rule out arson.

The goal is to turn over the new facility in October 2016, but there’s a lot of work before that happens.

“Our winter goal is to be dried in October, middle of October, that’s always our winter goal. We usually get really close, I think we’re going to do it this year, that’s the plan,” said Manke.

This winter they will rough in the electric and mechanical systems. Drywall starts around first of the year, while the finishing work happens in springtime.