Finney County Commission reviews status of joint Fire/EMS station plans

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
A floor plan for a 6,900 sq. ft. option for the joint Fire/EMS building, to be located at  Jennie Barker Road and Schulman Avenue, was presented at the Finney County Commission meeting Monday.

The latest set of plans for the joint Finney County Fire Department/EMS station were given at the regular Finney County Commission meeting Monday. 

Skylar Swords, Finney County EMS director, said the satellite station is part of the county-wide sales tax initiative voted on by the public in November 2017 which included improvements to Jennie Barker Road, Lee Richardson Zoo, the gun range and other projects. 

Located at the corner of Schulman Avenue. and Jennie Barker Road., the new fire/EMS station is now getting the architectural plans designed, Swords said.

Construction is expected to begin in 2024.

The plans presented at the meeting are a 6,900 sq. ft. option, Swords said. There was also a 6,500 sq. ft. option.

On the EMS side the facility will include a garage with space for both fire and EMS, storage and a shower for the EMS building. 

The EMS side has about six rooms, Swords said the majority of the time there will be two, sometimes three or up to four supervisors at the station, but extra space is needed because sometimes there are students and third person riders staying there.

"We went for six rooms for a couple of reasons, from time-to-time we do have times when we need a little extra bedroom space for personnel," he said. "For instance, sometimes if another station is closed down for whatever reason back here in this last, when we had that cold snap, there we had the water was shut off in Holcomb Station, so we kind of had to deal with that. We didn't have a place to move them over temporarily move a crew."

Additionally the two extra bedrooms could be converted into impromptu office space if for some reason the main office located at 803 W. Mary St. were to be out of service, Swords said.

"We could move over to the station and still have some administrative functions in line to use those as office spaces if we need to," he said. "It's a rarity that it would happen but it could. That's kind of why we went for six rooms there."

The facility plans also include a dining area, living room area, an administrative work area where personnel can write up all their reports and other paperwork as well as a handicap accessible bathroom in the front that would have access for the public. 

Swords said he doesn't anticipate a lot of public interaction at the new facility as it's a satellite station.

"The main interactions we have with the public, such as CPR classes and stuff like that, we would continue to do that in our main station," he said. " Especially if we're able to upgrade that station or build a new facility here in the next few years that's where we would put our focus on that, that would be a much bigger footprint for a facility."  

The facility also has a fitness room, a tool shop, a place for turnout gear and a decontamination area.

While some of the common areas will be shared with the fire station each organization, does have their designated space, Swords said. 

"We have to be respectful of each other's respective parts of the building, but there will be some, right now the idea is to have open access between there with provided it's not abused in any way, shape or form," he said. "If there's a reason for us to be together then let's be together, but we don't need to be wandering in and out."

Swords said another EMS building was needed because as the city grows the county's emergency response capabilities need to as well. The new facility will shorten response times to places like East Garden Village and other nearby locations than if an ambulance came from the main station on West Mary Street.

"It's just a modern facility and better location for our staff so that they'll be able to get to certain calls quicker," he said. "We're always looking to try to improve our existing framework and what we can do to better serve the citizens of Finney County."