EMS substation project coming soon

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The plan to construct a new ambulance substation on Hwy. 259 near Kilgore Primary School is moving forward but there are still a few details to be worked out.

“What I do know is that we are still fine-tuning our extension agreement with them. We’ve gotten approval from the council to extend our agreement but we have not finalized the agreement yet,” said Josh Selleck, Kilgore city manager.

In 2017, KISD board members entered into an agreement with Champion EMS to allow the ambulance service to construct a new 24-hour ambulance substation on property owned by the school district. In March 2017, Champion EMS Regional Manager Brian Wilkinson said Kilgore city officials suggested the use of school property for the new substation when Champion could not successfully acquire property elsewhere in the city. The location of the primary campus would help improve response times for ambulance crews handling emergency calls on the south side of Kilgore.

“For a number of years we’ve realized we have some areas of town that are difficult to respond to,” Selleck said. “In looking at it, they’ve noticed that the southern part of town, which is farther away from the station on 31, they have slightly longer response times. So the goal of this is to split the service area to give them better proximity to the ambulance service.”

The current Champion EMS building on Hwy. 31 will remain in operation and one of the ambulances currently in use would be provided to the new substation to use once construction is complete.

In September 2017, the school board voted unanimously to approve a 10-year lease agreement with Champion EMS and allow the construction of an ambulance substation between Kilgore Primary and the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall on Hwy. 259. At the meeting, the board agreed Champion would pay a $100-per-month lease to use the property and Champion would also be responsible for any maintenance at the substation.

At the meeting, Wilkinson estimated the cost of the building would be approximately $200,000 which is to be paid by Champion.

“It would be Champion that funds the building itself,” Selleck said.

The lease includes an option for renewal for another 10-year term after the expiration of the initial term. Also, the lease includes language requiring the substation and the property on which it sits to be turned over the to the school district in the event of Champion leaving the property.

Although the school board and the city are currently moving forward with the project, it is still too early to determine when construction might begin or when the ambulance substation might become fully operational.

Selleck said the city and Champion are still working out the remaining details of their agreement.

“We have exchanged emails as recently as yesterday and today so it’s still ongoing,” Selleck said. “I think they’re hoping as soon as possible. Obviously, so are we. We have a few more final details to work out.”

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