Nome Court moves
The U.S. District Court at Nome is moving to a new location but not yet to its new home.
The quarters in the old Nome hospital are not yet ready for move-in so the court will spend about two months at the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Bering St. The church has a large area that has been used for meetings such as the Alaska Marijuana Control Board in the past.
The court has been in the same building as the U.S. Post Office at 112 Front St. The lease expired in Feb. 2020. “We did not receive a responsive bid from our current landlord,” said Area Court Administrator Brodie Kimmel. They signed with the bid which won. “Whenever we’re renewing leases like this we have to bring it to a public bidding and then we take the most responsive, reasonable bid.”
The entire court system is moving, so there are a lot of records that have to be transferred. “All the files and documents that we keep at the court system move,” said Kimmel. “Staff have access to court case files at the new location just like they had at the old one. Each court location retains all active cases and the last four years of case files at their court facilities. All those moved.”
The court was scheduled to move into the new facility at the old hospital on July 1 but due to COVID-19 related delays in construction of air circulation units the moving date was pushed back by two months. “We were unable to negotiate a reasonable extension to our lease with our current landlord,” said Kimmel.
Because of the pandemic all cases are being heard telephonically. There is no courtroom space. Rather, the hearings are recorded out of an Anchorage courtroom. “Our district is already used to doing things telephonically with people that live in remote locations,” said Kimmel. “Our judicial offices are already quite used to handling matters telephonically.”
Kimmel expects the court to be in the new location by Sept. 1. The Lutheran Church is across from the future location at the old hospital. “I think we’ll be able to continue operations seamlessly at this temporary location,” said Kimmel.