Cole County Emergency Service Building to Receive Renovations

4 years 10 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, April 02 2014 Apr 2, 2014 Wednesday, April 02, 2014 4:14:00 PM CDT April 02, 2014 in News
By: Alyssa Caruso, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Commission on Wednesday voted and approved $1.2 million worth of renovations to the Cole County Emergency Services building.

The building, which employees said was once a warehouse, currently houses various emergency services such as Hazmat and emergency medical services like ambulances.

Mike Shirts, director of Cole County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), said staff members respond to ten to 12 thousand calls a year. He said the renovations are needed to improve efficiency by having emergency services all on one level and located closer to the street.

"When you look at the property, we are in the back," Shirts said. "We're several hundred feet away from the main thoroughfare. With a volume of the back and forth we have responding out of this property, it makes sense to put the volume up front." 

Renovations include moving EMS services, like ambulances, to the front of the building instead of the back where they are now. Shirts said this will likely improve response time because ambulances will no longer have to travel around the building to get to the nearest street.

Another renovation will bring the dispatch center and crew quarters to the main level. Employees are currently on the second level of the building, making it more difficult in times of emergency. He also said the upstairs room is not large enough anymore.

"With that small area there that we've occupied for the past eight years, we have just grown out of it," Shirts said. "Looking at what we need and future needs that we can possibly think of, moving us up front and expanding our footprint within the building was the best option presented to the commission."

Cole County Commissioner Marc Ellinger said the county has long realized the need to renovate. He said the money comes from a reserve where the county set aside money for this project.

"There is no debt. It's money that is in reserve specifically tagged for this construction," Shirts said.

Shirts said the construction should start within the next few weeks and there is an approximate 90-day window for completion.

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