The cost of the new emergency services building (EMS) is projected to be higher than originally approved, the Greene County Board of Supervisors learned Nov. 10.
Supervisors unanimously approved $1.4 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding from the federal government for the new building in early September. The new estimate is just under $2.1 million.
Greene County has received two $1.7 million installments of CARES Act funds, approved by Congress earlier this year. The funding can only cover expenses from March-December 2020 and is designed to help localities mitigate impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
County Administrator Mark Taylor said the cost increase comes from a larger design—from roughly 6,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet—for the vehicle bays to house the number of ambulance and response vehicles the EMS has.
“The original estimate that we gave the board was $1.4 million,” said Melissa Meador, director of emergency services. “That was based on (the engineer’s) experience with similar designs that he had done in the past and it was our hope to fit our operation into minimal space. Early on, we were even looking at the possibility of two buildings, one in Stanardsville and one in Ruckersville. The second station in Ruckersville, we felt could be construed as more of a want than really a need right now. So we turned all of our energy and our focus for the one facility in Stanardsville and to make that work first.”
Meador said the previous design was just not big enough.
“We just felt like trying to move forward with that smaller structure that simply would not meet the minimal needs of operations would cost significantly more in the long run and impact service delivery in the short run,” she said. “It just wasn’t going to make sense for us to proceed knowing that it was inadequate.”
Taylor said due to the pandemic, housing the EMS squads in the previous building owned by the volunteer rescue squad wasn’t possible. When UVA Hospital announced in April it was severing the contract to provide EMS to Greene, supervisors voted to create its own squad.
“This station space will enable EMS to all of Greene County 24/7,” Taylor said.
The breakdown of costs include: the steel building shell at $133,020; construction at $1,617,000; furniture at $100,000; engineering at $158,000 and a contingency set aside of $87,500.
Taylor said the $608,020 additional funding will come from displaced budgeted funds in the fiscal year 2021 budget.
“It was a little bit of a surprise seeing the bids coming in the way they did,” said board Chairman Bill Martin, Stanardsville. “We had budgeted $1.4 million. We’re now talking about $2.1 million. We don’t have much time to ponder this, because Dec. 30 is coming up quickly. So, I would personally encourage us to support this and give Mr. Taylor and his team the green light to move forward.”
Monroe Supervisor Steve Bowman agreed.
“I really believe that the initial assessment was a little undersized,” Bowman said. “Having built similar structures like this, I believe it roughly comes out to about $250 a square foot for finished public safety space. I think that’s very reasonable and I would support this. I think that we need it. We’ve gone down this path; we’ve committed to provide EMS service to Greene County, the best we can afford, and I would support this facility.”
Bowman motioned to approve the funding for the new EMS building and At-Large Supervisor Dale Herring seconded. The motion passed 4-1 with Ruckersville Supervisor Davis Lamb voting against.
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