Ambulance barn plans downsized

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Allen County commissioners have settled on a spartan structure to house ambulances and their attendants at 410 N. State St.
After learning a comprehensive station containing 5,300 square feet would cost about $500,000 to build, Commission Chairman Dick Works proposed “meeting our immediate needs” with something less grand. A building of about 2,400 square feet with two bedrooms, two ambulance bays and no frills can be constructed for $125,000 to $150,000, he said.
“It would have just what we absolutely need,” Works said during the county commission meeting Tuesday morning.
Commissioners said they would ask for design-and-build bids from contractors that allow for future expansion of the building. For the time being, an office for Emergency Medical Services director Jason Nelson will likely be in the existing building, which is being refitted as a 911 dispatch and emergency operations center.
Angela Murphy, county dispatch services director, said remodeling was going well and that crews from the county’s Public Works Department were lending a hand to hold down costs. The county anticipates having emergency dispatch services moved to the building, former home of Heartland Rural Electric offices, by mid-January.
To avoid possible mishaps when moving electronic equipment from City Hall to the new center, Murphy asked commissioners to waive a county policy that requires bids for expenditures of $10,000 or more. Murphy would like Advantage Computer Enterprises to move the equipment and complete wiring and set up in the new quarters.
ACE costs, Murphy said, would likely exceed the $10,000 threshold though she is confident the move would be done as economically as possible. Murphy also said she feared switching vendors could lead to glitches because the department’s equipment was originally purchased, installed and maintained by ACE. County Counselor Alan Weber said he saw no problems with a waiver.
Commissioners did not waive the policy, saying they wanted to wait for specific costs, including that of new radios, and a visit from an ACE representative at their Oct. 27 meeting.

NELSON told commissioners EMS personnel were planning a time in December to entertain children so parents could shop for holiday gifts. Kids would be shown a movie and be given tips on healthy living and avoiding accidents.
Commissioners accepted a bid of $8,568 from Hoffmeier Electric, the lower of two, to replace lighting in District Court rooms and related offices.