EMS specs sought

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Allen County commissioners will decide soon whether to remodel the former Heartland Rural Electric Co-op building, 410 S. State St., for ambulance crew living quarters or put all ambulance functions in a separate, adjacent structure.
Commissioners purchased the building for $185,000 last month, with the thought of adding a garage to house ambulances and remodeling part of the building for living quarters. Last week Jason Nelson, ambulance director, said he thought remodeling would cost more than including crew quarters in a new ambulance barn.
Commissioners want precise figures.
“It all boils down to cost,” Chairman Dick Works said. “Whichever one costs less is the one we want to do.”
Former plans for an ambulance station in Gas will be used as a guide. That proposal included living quarters, a training area and ambulance bays for about $200,000. Commissioners will likely direct some of the State Street building to be used for training purposes and classrooms.
Commissioners hope design work can be done in-house once a decision is made.
Two weeks ago commissioners agreed to issue bonds of up to $400,000 to pay for refitting the building for a 911 dispatch center, emergency operations center and ambulances and crews based in Iola. Issuance of the bonds and specific amounts will hinge on which approach commissioners settle on.
Commissioners still intend to maintain 24/7 ambulance service in Moran and Humboldt, and mentioned a new ambulance station for Moran.
Humboldt officials told commissioners when their City Hall is moved to the Emprise Bank building, the county may use the area in the present City Hall set aside for Humboldt police officers as crew quarters for Humboldt-based ambulances.

WORK has begun at 410 State St. to prepare it for the 911 dispatch center.
Allen County inmates have painted and pulled old carpeting from the floors. No decision has been made on new floor coverings. Areas near the building have been spruced up and weeds in the parking lot have been poisoned.
Bill King, director of Public Works, said he would seal cracks in the parking lot this fall and suggested a slurry seal, a mix of hot oil and sand, would be a good maintenance approach for the parking area.