By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
After years of waiting, Lavonia emergency service personnel will get a new EMS station.
At Monday’s meeting, Franklin County commissioners came out of executive session and voted to accept the offer of three-quarters of an acre of land on Gerrard Road from the Franklin County Industrial Building Authority for the new station.
The site was one of two locations suggested by the IBA.
IBA director Lynn Brumby Allen said they are happy to have the County make the selection.
“The county needed a location in that general area. Gerrard Road seemed to be the best location for the area they need to serve and we were happy to help in any way that we could,” said IBA director Lynn Brumby Allen Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Franklin County Emergency Services Director Terry Harris said he is pleased with the site the board selected.
“The new ambulance station will give us a lot better facility than what we’re in now. The building we’re in now is very outdated, so it’s definitely a plus,” he said.
Franklin County Commissioner Charles Cawthon is a long-time volunteer with the Lavonia Fire Department and the new station will be in his county district.
Cawthon said the new building will be larger and the Gerrard Road site offers better proximity to a number of important areas in Lavonia.
“We feel like it will enhance the industrial development area out there just by having an EMS presence,” Cawthon said. “Plus, a good many calls from the Gumlog area so that gives them good access to that area as well as the Interstate.”
Cawthon went on to say that the new EMS station will also be close to Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center and Highway 17.
“We looked at sites closer to the hospital but they didn’t work out in terms of being able to put a package together; certainly not as favorable as this,” Cawthon said.
Once built, the new station will be able to house three ambulances, a day room, bunkroom, bathroom and kitchen.
Cawthon said the new EMS building also offers room for growth.
“There’s just one ambulance there at this time, but we need to have room for expansion because we know that area is going to grow. We need to make sure we’re not under-building ourselves when we start so this is something that we’ll be able to expand and will be able to handle at least two crews,” Cawthon said.
Franklin County Manager Billy Morse said that there is still a lot to do before the county can break ground.
According to Morse, the county does not have an exact figure on how much the new EMS station will cost, but does say that it will be paid for with SPLOST funds.