SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The move to transform the Sacramento Kings’ former home, the Sleep Train Arena, into a surge hospital for coronavirus patients through the end of June will cost taxpayers $500,000 a month, according to documents obtained from the state.
The agreement between the state and the Kings’ organization was signed on March 24 and the start and end dates range from April 1 through June 30. The announcement of the arena’s transformation came in early April from Gov. Gavin Newsom, but there was no mention of the financial agreement at the time.
A team spokesperson said in a statement to CBS13:
“We are incredibly proud of our public-private partnership to operationalize the team’s former home in Natomas in record time. Per the state, our lease agreement for Sleep Train Arena is consistent with other similar alternate care facilities that have been created to support the growing medical needs of the COVID-19 crisis across California. We, however, are providing the use of the team’s former practice facility at no cost. Our intent was, and is, to continue to use our platform for good and to help support our community.”
The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services told CBS13 that as of noon Friday, there are no patients in the facility. The facility was designed to house 360 hospital beds along with additional hospital services to treat patients suffering from COVID-19.
The monthly costs cover maintenance, utilities and security, among other things.
In a statement following the initial announcement from the governor, Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadivé said:
“Our community has always come first, and that is more important now than ever. The Kings are proud to help by providing additional space to accommodate a predicted surge in patients. We are also donating masks to help keep people healthy, and critical resources to area organizations that are addressing food insecurity and other issues as a result of the coronavirus. I have always been in awe of the resilience and ingenuity of the American people and firmly believe that together, we will defeat this invisible enemy.”