Commissioners consider new plan for EMS training room

REED CITY — In an ongoing effort to provide the Osceola County Emergency Medical Services with a state certified training room, the board of commissioners were presented with a new option at a meeting March 3 — using part of the newly purchased property on Upton Avenue in Reed City.

Osceola County Commission on Aging director Justin Halladay is in the process of purchasing the former Harvest Assembly of God building for the county, to be used as a COA senior meal site. Halladay said they expect to close on the contract in about a week.

Halladay told the board that, after doing a walk through of the facility with EMS director Jeremy Beebe, it was determined that there was ample room to accommodate both the COA meal site and the EMS training room.

“We could share the main assembly area,” he said. “We could put up a partition with the COA meal site on one side and the EMS training room on the other. There is also the possibility of the training room being in the basement.”

“There is some flexibility with the schedule,” he added. “Jeremy doesn’t train every day, and we don’t have meals every day. When we do have meals, they are in the middle of the day, and most of the training would take place in the afternoon or evening. If it happened that we were both there at the same time, we could close the partition.”

In addition, he said, since the wall would not be permanent, it could be opened for training when needed and for other big events.

“I think there are a lot of things that would need to be worked out logistically,” BOC member and chairman of the Health, Safety and Grounds committee, Mark Gregory said. “However, Jeremy was very confident that there was space enough for both of them to co-exist in the building.”

The idea would be for the COA and EMS to share the cost of purchasing the facility, plus any routine expenses such as utilities and maintenance.

“Everything we have joint venture into, we would split the cost,” Halladay said. “Anything he had done that had nothing to do with COA, he would pay for, and anything COA does that would not be beneficial to EMS, we would pay for.

“This would be beneficial to COA because it would cut the cost of the facility in half, and the funds that would have been used to make the purchase could be put toward the renovations needed for the meal site,” he added.

Gregory said that for the facility to meet state requirements for an EMS continuing education classroom, it would have to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Osceola County Maintenance Supervisor Brad Halladay said that would involve replacing the ramp at the front of the building to bring it up to code and widening the main door to the assemble area.

To make the basement ADA compliant would require excavating about four feet of dirt from the building to make a walk-out basement with an ADA compliant entrance, he said.

“The basement is already half exposed, so we would only need to take out about four feet,” Brad Halladay said. “We could take the dirt from the front area and move it to the driveway to level out the driveway area or move it to the parking lot to level it up and create a nice parking lot.

“In addition to that," he added, "you would have to have some ramps installed down to the basement entrance, and possibly renovation of one or more of the bathrooms.”

Brad Halladay estimated the cost for just those renovations would be around $15,000.

Gregory said for EMS to use the basement may require removing some walls to make the classrooms larger, as well, and that would likely involve additional costs.

The board had previously been working with the Health Department to lease a suite in their building and have it renovated to meet the needs of the EMS training room.

Gregory said he was not sure if the EMS renovation costs at the new facility would be any less than what they would pay for renovations at the health department.

“Once you factor in the purchase price, plus the renovations, you may be looking at a similar figure, but we wouldn’t have the sixteen-year lease involved and the cost of extra storage space for the health department,” he said.

Osceola County Coordinator Susan VanderPol told the board that they had received bids for the renovations of the health department suite, but if they were not going to move forward with the project, it would be necessary for them to reject the bids.

The board voted unanimously to reject the bids for EMS training room project and not enter into a lease with the health department for utilization of the health department space.