POMEROY — Officials recently received a preview of the new Meigs County EMS/Medflight Services Facility, located next to the Meigs County Emergency Management Agency.
The new facility is slated to be finished in early spring and has a project construction cost of $670,127. It will be 7,330 square feet.
The entire building will be a one-story wood frame construction with durable metal siding and roof with a split face Masonry Wainscot. The building will also be provided with a full fire sprinkler system for safety.
Within the building there will be a Medflight helicopter hangar, an EMS truck bay that will hold four vehicles, an EMS dormitory with three bedrooms, restrooms with showers, a kitchen, an office and a lounge. The Medflight side of the building will have its own dormitory, too, with two bedrooms, restrooms with showers, a kitchen and office and a lounge. There will also be helicopter-fueling facilities, and the facility will be directly connected with the existing Mickunas Blackhawk Helipad that will be provided by Holzer Health Systems.
Before the tour of the facility, there was a ceremony providing information to attendees. EMS Director Robbie Jacks made the opening remarks about the facility.
Jacks posed the question that led to the creation of the EMA facility and the facility being built now.
“There was a real need in Meigs County for our station and for our squads,” he said. “How can we make life better for our employees and how can we make life better for our citizens?”
Jacks introduced Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith next, who spoke about the progress that Meigs County has made.
“Commissioner Ihle said it best the other evening at Soil and Water banquet, that there is a cloud over Meigs County — a cloud of dust because of all the work and progress that is going on here, and this project is an example of it,” he said.
Smith introduced Thomas Allenstein, of Medflight, who said that Meigs County is moving into the next generation and the creation of this facility is a part of that.
“We want to enhance the ability to care for the people of Meigs County,” he said. “I look forward to a long history of serving.”
Dr. Michael Canady, chief medical officer for Holzer Health Systems, spoke about the need for the facility.
“It’s really obvious this needed to be done for a long time,” he said.
After Canady, Jason Wilson, from the Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia, assured all in attendance that the Appalachian region of Ohio, and the Appalachian region in general, has not been forgotten, although sometimes it may feel that way.
“We just need to put ourselves out there more and not be afraid to ask questions and put our hands up more,” he said. “We are forgotten sometimes … but we think we’re changing that. We can do that down in our area. If you’re from Ohio, you’re from somewhere that’s important to somebody, and the helipad is certainly the next step in the process.”
Wilson said his office’s job is to help set things up and then get out of the way so that Meigs County citizens can do the rest.
“What I want to know is: what’s next?” he asked the audience. “Because we’re going to be a part of it.”
Commissioner Smith next introduced Scott T. Hamilton, executive director of the Appalachian Regional Commission. Hamilton placed Meigs County and Ohio as one of the 420 counties and one of 13 states that make up the Appalachian Region.
“I understand what health care means to a community; quality of life and quality of place, the culture of that community, and health care is an important component of that as well,” he said. “I thank you all for what you’re doing in moving a community forward.”
Capt. Eric Rock, of Meigs County EMS, presented recognition plaques to Allenstein, commissioners Smith, Mike Bartrum and Ihle, Canady, Misty Casto of Buckeye Hills Hocking Valley Regional Development District and Perry Varnadoe and Brenda Roush, both of the Meigs County Economic Development Office.
Lastly, Jacks stepped to the podium and thanked Alva Clark, a Meigs County resident, for his help with the project.
After speeches, refreshments were served and attendees were allowed to tour the facility and a helicopter that arrived from Wellston for the occasion.
According to the pilots, the helicopter is an AC130 Airbus, and is one in a fleet of 10. There is a mini-ICU on board, and the aircraft itself is considered one of the quietest helicopters ever built.
As Hamilton toured the helicopter pad, he voiced his confidence in the project.
“It means a lot to the community,” he said.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.