EMS base to be built in Marion

OSCEOLA COUNTY — The Village of Marion will serve as the home of a permanent Emergency Medical Services facility after Osceola County commissioners approved the location of the building at a Nov. 6 meeting.

Upon the recommendation of interim EMS Director Jeremy Beebe, commissioners authorized architect and engineering firm Hooker and De Jong to move forward with the estimated $661,000 project at a 1.8 acre-site in the Marion industrial park off of Lowry Street in Marion. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-1, with Tammy Stoner, of District Two, voting no.

“Our thinking on it was to go ahead and proceed with this base in Marion, and then if the revenues continue to increase and can support another base, we’ll build one in Evart,” said Dave Brooks, chairman of the Osceola County Board of Commissioners.

After Hooker and De Jong was contracted with in August, the firm analyzed 23 aspects of four possible base sites, including the Marion industrial park site, a site in Evart on the corner of Lauman and 5 Mile Road which is owned by the City of Evart, a site on Dighton Road and another site on Dighton Road which was given to the county by the Road Commission years ago on the terms that it would be used for an EMS base.

The firm looked at purchase costs, proximity to natural gas, water services, ease of site access and proximity to the population among other aspects and presented their completed research to the board in October, showing research pointing to the Marion site and Evart site as the best fit for an EMS base. Brooks said the two Dighton road sites are no longer being considered as viable possibilities for an EMS base.

At the Nov. 6 meeting, Frank Bednarek, of Hooker and De Jong, presented the projected $661,000 cost of the project to commissioners.

The project will be funded by money currently in the EMS fund. Brooks said the estimated total for the project was on target with his expectations.

“It wasn’t too far off of what I had thought it would be,” Brooks said. “When the final figure comes back, it could be less, but it is not expected to be more than that.”

The proposal to add one or more additional EMS facilities was brought to the board by former EMS director Ed Nettle in 2010 after a study was done determining a need for additional bases to improve EMS response time in the county. The topic had been discussed for many years prior.

The decision allows Hooker and De Jong to move forward with the next phase of the project, including putting blue prints together and soil testing, said county coordinator Sue Vanderpol.

The construction of the bases will go out to bids from contractors in the next phase of completion. Groundbreaking on the new base should be in the spring.