Ambulance Garage Still A Few Months Away From Completion

With its brick façade going up, the six-bay garage slab in, and interior drywall giving the structure shape, Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association’s new headquarters is moving forward and starting to look like a new building. It is still several months away from completion, however. Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps member Stuart Rieve said that mid-August will “hopefully” see the project, which broke ground last July, primarily finished.

He walked the site May 6, noting portions of new sidewalk, the foundation for the main driveway entrance off Wasserman Way, a roof that is mostly shingled, and an area of recessed ground where an outdoor patio will be. Mr Rieve met up with Jim Cookson with Nosal Builders Inc, and the two looked at the emerging building as it joins the landscape of roughly 80-year-old former state hospital buildings occupying the Fairfield Hills campus.

“It really fits this space,” Mr Rieve said. Walking inside the new garage bays and considering the space, he said the current facility being used by the corps at 77 Main Street could fit inside it. Inside the new building is a kitchen and lounge area, a computer room, and a “nice view” from the windows, he said. EMTs on duty for overnight shifts will have private bunk rooms and restroom and shower facilities available to them.

“No more sleeping on the couch,” he said.

The two-story building will also have meeting and training rooms, and office and conference spaces.

Outside once more and glancing at the campus around him, Mr Rieve said, “It’s going to be beautiful in the afternoons here.” He had not realized that part of the property’s benefit, he said, until he was on site at the groundbreaking ceremony on July 29.

So far, the only real snag in construction are drainage pipes. Eighteen-inch pipes under and along Wasserman Way and heading toward the railroad tracks must be replaced with 24-inch pipes, which could cost upward of $100,000. Anticipating some town assistance for the project otherwise funded by private ambulance association funds, Mr Rieve said, “It has got to get done.”

By late winter, the project was slightly behind schedule by about two weeks.

“We were ahead a few weeks around Christmas, but winter has taken its toll,” he said in late February. This week he said the project is still off by just two weeks.

The Board of Trustees last June voted unanimously to move ahead with the estimated $4.5 million new emergency medical service facility. The six-bay, 14,500-square-foot garage’s design has taken into consideration the need for increased integration with other Newtown-based health and wellness organizations, with a second floor devoted to education.

Features of the building will include individual crew-member bunk rooms, office space for the executive board and Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association Inc, three double-long garage bays, and technologically advanced electronic and security systems.

This building will also include a large training room to facilitate increased community educational opportunities such as CPR and AED training, first aid, and scout merit badges. It will also provide space for equipment storage and training for emergency medical technician classes, which are imperative for the continuity of the volunteer corps.

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