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Aug 15, 2014 1:54 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance Hopes To Build $5.5 Million Headquarters

Aug 20, 2014 10:05 AM

A proposal for a $5.5 million ambulance headquarters for the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance company could go to a public referendum as early as this fall, according to village officials.

At a Southampton Village Board meeting on Thursday evening, August 14, Ambulance Chief Rick Fowler presented his case for the new building, citing space, parking and storage needs not being met at the current Meeting House Lane facility. To accommodate the growing ambulance company, a new 10,000-square-foot facility has been proposed on Windmill Lane between the Police Department headquarters and Lola Prentice Park.

Village officials are hoping to send the proposal to taxpayers in the form of a public referendum in October or November. They also hope to have the new two-story facility constructed and ready for operation by August 2016. If the referendum is approved, the building would be funded through a 20-year bond, officials said.

“Ideally, we would like to build a new facility that would fulfill our current and future needs, but do not expect or want to build a Taj Mahal,” Chief Fowler said in a handout at a presentation to the Village Board last week. “We have considered many alternatives, but at this current time, we feel that the best option would be to build a new facility on Windmill Lane between the police station and Lola Prentice Park. We sincerely hope that you will support our endeavor and help fulfill our needs.”

The ambulance company first took over its current space on Meeting House Lane in 1993, when the company incorporated. At the time, there were approximately 20 members. Now, the company has 60 members, making the building too small for them all to attend meetings or training sessions at one time.

Space is one of the biggest problems for the department, which has little to no storage at the current facility, limiting how often new supplies can be ordered, costing the company money since bulk purchasing is not an option. At the same time, federal law mandates that ambulance companies maintain records of every call for several years in a secure, fireproof safe. With approximately 800 calls a year, Chief Fowler said, the ambulance company is running out of options.

A new facility would also be better for storing other vehicles, like the beach terrain vehicle, which is currently stored in a separate storage shed. The equipment, Chief Fowler explained, is exposed to the elements in the tiny shed, which is not heated or weatherproof.

Chief Fowler also said that there are also very specific requirements for how ambulance equipment, medications and tools can be stored. A new facility would make it easier to follow those standards. It would also give the crews space to move around, he said, adding that when both ambulances are in the bays, the truck doors cannot be opened without blocking off a path.

Parking is also a major problem. The current facility has four designated parking spaces for first responders. However, typically more than four people respond to an incident, and if more than one call comes over, some responders must find street parking.

“This is something we have been working on for about five years, and it has grown to that point where we need to move forward with this and put it in front of the taxpayers and voters,” Mayor Mark Epley said. “I would encourage everyone to go down to the ambulance barn and realize what we have and what the demands are for our department, coupled with the inadequacies, and consider this new facility.”

Speed Limit Cut

Also last week, the Southampton Village Board voted to reduce the speed limit on Halsey Neck Road from 30 mph to 25 mph.

The change came at the request of several neighbors, who say cars fly down the road en route to the beach, endangering pedestrians, bicyclists and joggers.

“It is a very high-trafficked area,” Mr. Epley said this week. “It is one of the main access roads to the beach off of Hill Street, and there are always a lot of construction vehicles that go through there. This is important.”

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It is really needed! If you have ever been to their Open House you would wonder how they have managed in such a little building for so long.
By metsfan2 (158), southampton on Aug 15, 14 3:50 PM
New firehouse OK. new police station OK. Isn't it time to get the ambulance squad out of the middle ages. They're there when we need them, let's be there for them now.
By hamptonsnrcit (47), sag harbor on Aug 15, 14 4:32 PM
Lets get this done for our volunteers, they do a great job every day!!!! It is long overdue!!
By rjhdad (73), southampton on Aug 15, 14 5:11 PM
Medics/A's not volunteers. Paid.
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Aug 16, 14 10:42 AM
What a bunch of crap. We don't need to spend 5 million for a garage to hold four ambulances. We just spent 5 million on a firehouse with a .mahogony bar, and other unnecessary crap. It doesn't help save lives or property from the former firehouse. Someday we are going to need an adult to rein in spending or this country will be bankrupt.
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Aug 15, 14 7:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
cheif1 I hope you dont ever need an ambulance when in Southampton Village because their probably not going to help you after a comment like that!!
By victorc (3), Southampton on Aug 15, 14 9:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
What firehouse has a mahogany Bar?

Hampton Road is stained Oak veneer plywood...
By Draggerman (933), Southampton on Aug 15, 14 9:50 PM
Oh now I'm going to be extorted. If I don't vote yes the ambulance won't come to my house? Its called volunteering if you want to do it do it for the right reason. The ambulance corp needs to expand but 5 million dollars is outrageous.
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Aug 16, 14 12:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
Please be certain that SVVA will respond to any and all calls. How would the respondents know if the victim voted or not for the new building?
Also, please keep in mind that there can be no alcohol in a building that houses the ambulance corps and there will be no bar nor has there been a bar in the ambulance building.
For several years the ambulance has defined a need for a new building. Has Chief1 ever looked at the plans and suggested a realistic way to accomplish this at less of a ...more
By metsfan2 (158), southampton on Aug 16, 14 8:52 AM
2 members liked this comment
50 something Vollies for 7 sq. miles, + paid A's and paramedics which cover til midnight? And we are still going on multiple signal 3's.
You should move into the Windmill Lane Firehouse which the FD said they would no longer need, if not then put up a building just like the new maintenance building with a bay used for training and bunking when needed and cost the Village less than a million.
By 11953guest (46), southampton on Aug 16, 14 3:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
But they do have a $600k kitchen in there......
By tookatz (83), westhampton beach on Aug 17, 14 7:16 AM
They deserve a proper headquarters. I hope the voters agree.
Jim Frankenbach
By J. Frankenbach (15), Southampton on Aug 19, 14 9:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
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