More in News
Med-Care board tours new facility
Med-Care Board of Directors toured the new ambulance base last Wednesday. From top left is the kitchen, dining room and living quarter area, the lobby, the piping and boilers in the mechanical room that operate the facility, the innovative vehicle exhaust systems, and a view of the four-bay garage from the mezzanine. (Times photos by Bruce Farrin)
MEXICO -- With the new base for Med-Care Ambulance better than 90 percent completed, the Board of Directors were given a tour of the 160x80-foot steel building prior to their meeting last Wednesday.
Conducting the tour was Med-Care Director of Operations Dean Milligan, who noted, "It took a long time for you guys to see what you're seeing tonight."
As he led a group of a dozen people through the $1.76 million facility, located on a parcel of about two acres just off Route 2 on Highland Terrace, Milligan began by noting that "the entrances into the living quarter area, the main lobby and the training room are all keyless entry systems that you gave have an audit trail on in case anything ever got stolen. Each employee will have their own pass code so that it can be tracked. The two doors to the garage will always be locked. The intent is that when everybody's gone, there's no way for anyone to get in unless they use this keyless entry system."
"One side is for women, the other for men, with three bedrooms each, and two lockers which are basically mirror images of each other, except for a yellow theme for the women and a navy blue theme for the men," he said, noting that if there are four men working one shift, obviously he will take one of the available rooms to have his own room. Each bedroom has two beds, a nightstand and a small TV.
The bathrooms and showers meet the minimum requirement of ADA as they have to be handicapped accessible.
After showing the kitchen, dining room and living quarter area, the group entered the lobby area, where the public will be entering.
"There will be logo on the floor and one in the board room," said Milligan. "The intent is to leave them covered until the grand opening. The logos include Med-Care's patch and the one in the board room incorporates the Alan Parson material as well."
He noted the board room is by far the favorite room as far as Med-Care staff and employees are concerned. "Because for the last 24 years, we've had to find a place to conduct everything we do -- board meetings, training, public education. And now, we'll be able to do everything right here."
From there, the tour concluded in the garage area. Several viewed this from the mezzanine. Here, Milligan said they added a large room where there was usuable space when they realized they needed a place to their medical supplies, uniforms and all the miscellaneous materials as it's pretty packed on the first floor and there is no basement.
He pointed out in the garage above the ambulances are eight square boxes that are vehicle exhaust systems. "They filter the exhaust. They filter the bad stuff out and redistribute the warm air right back into your space. Nothing goes outside."
Milligan said the project by Sheridan Corp. of Fairfield, at four months to date, is way ahead of the eight to nine months they expected. "The quality of the work has been impressive. We've been meeting weekly with them for 16 weeks. I feel that they're looking out for us."
As for when they might like to move in, he said if all goes well, it would be nice to be able to have their grand opening/open house during Emergency Medical Services Week the week of May 19. However, Milligan did not want to put pressure on that deadline as Sheridan was given 12 months for the project. "If it were by next winter, we'd be happy."
Milligan said the groundwork is slated to begin around April 15, and an effort is being made to get placed early on the paving schedule.
The landscaping will include planting eight- to 10-foot hardwood trees, placed between the two driveways, and the front of the building. The signage will be one sign, lighted, out by the road, similar to the sign by the Dirigo Elementary School with the main sign and a message board.
Brown said, "We've kept very close track of the financial transactions and progress of this building on a weekly or better basis as board members. We meet with the general contractor weekly. There's a formal change-order procedure where values are set. The building is ahead of schedule and we're within our budget and intend to keep it within that. We're happy with the general contractor and our dealings with them, and things have gone very well."
Pulsifer added, "I think the general contractor has been excellent to work with. They've been very good, up front. There's no reason to go over budget."
The current ambulance building has housed the service for the past 20 years. The current facility is in violation of the state fire code for employees to live on the site and would cost approximately $250,000 to be brought up to code, not to mention that it’s too small to house the large fleet of service vehicles and technicians.
At the meeting, in talking about selling present facility, Milligan said that maybe it shouldn't be put onto the market until they're ready to move into the new facility.
Treasurer Jim Pulsifer disagreed. "I think we should move on it. Absolutely. As far as your concerns about having to move out before you're ready, you can write that into the agreement. So I think we ought to get the buyers in there looking at it because usually they don't go, snap. So the sooner we get it on the market, the better we'll be. And this is a good time to get people interested to move it."
Board President Steve Brown added, "We have interest in it. We've a done initial study on what kind of price to put on it. We don't want to be open about what we're willing to let it go for."
About the present facility, he said they are working to get to the paving portion. "Everything is moving fast, quicker than we think."
Director Reggie Arsenault, a member of the Mexico Planning Board, noted, "That would make a nice building for automobile repair, or whatever. We did find out that automobile repair, snowmobile, anything like that, can go into that building."
They also discussed involving one of the local realtors.
Med-Care Ambulance services 550 square miles for 11 towns. They currently employ 60 people, including 15 full-time.