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County to pursue $9 million emergency services center

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners on Monday authorized County Manager Steve Wyatt to pursue plans for a new consolidated headquarters for emergency medical responders at a cost of up to $9 million.

 

The board members and Wyatt said they planned to pursue potential partnerships with Blue Ridge Community College and Pardee Hospital as they plan for the new quarters for the Emergency Management office, Emergency Medical Services and the Henderson County Rescue Squad.

"The potential for bringing college level training and certification programs that are currently housed in community college classrooms to bring them onsite with a live emergency services operation center is a pretty exciting concept when you think about it," Wyatt said. "But, also, it'll free up space at the community college for other uses and also give our people the opportunity to pick the best students out of the program."

Wyatt has begun discussions with BRCC President Molly Parkhill about a potential partnership.

Commissioners expressed some concern about the cost of the emergency services project on top of other big money jobs such as a renovation and addition at Hendersonville High School and and a new 75,000-square-foot health sciences building for Wingate University, BRCC and Pardee.

"Really and truly Henderson County has outgrown what we have," said board Chairman Charlie Messer. "We need to start planning in the very near future, and I'm talking about the near future, for some accommodations to make this happen."
The county ambulance service, Rescue Squad and emergency management office currently occupy a total of about 25,000 square feet of space that a study rated as good to poor. The total land requirement was estimated to be 4.2 acres with a projected total cost of $8.4 million.

Wyatt, along with consultant Steve Allan, president of Solutions for Local Government, will continue planning for the joint facility and report back to commissioners in 30 to 45 days.