The search for a permanent home for Cullman Emergency Medical Service appears to be over.
On Friday, the Cullman Regional Medical Center Board announced its decision to renovate CEMS’ old building on U.S. 31 which was heavily damaged by the April 27, 2011 that struck downtown Cullman. The decision comes two and a half years after the ambulance service was displaced. Since then, it has bounced between a handful of rental properties. The service is now housed at the old emergency room space at the Woodland Hospital building.
Cullman EMS Director Jerry Sellers said he and his staff are thrilled they will be coming home to a renovated facility.
“We all feel like this is the best location because it’s centrally located with multiple response routes,” Sellers said. “It will be a better use of the property because we’ll have more room to house all of our vehicles inside. The office area that used to be on the first floor will be down in the basement.”
The renovation will transform the blighted shell of the vacant building with a new facade of brick and large windows. It will feature 10 ambulance bays, waiting room, office space, sleeping quarters, conference and break rooms, restrooms and storage area. Construction is expected to take five months, and officials will meet next week to discuss the project.
“We are excited to give our ambulance service a much deserved permanent home,” said CRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Weidner. “The new structure will meet the needs of CEMS, keep response times below the national average and add an aesthetically pleasing building to the downtown Cullman thoroughfare.”
The CRMC Board’s buildings and grounds committee considered several factors for a permanent site including location for best response times, lowest costs and best visibility and curb appeal for the ambulance service.
“The primary factor was the location’s impact on response times for 911 calls,” said Roger Humphrey, committee chairman. “By keeping the former location, CEMS Ambulance will be able to keep response times consistently below the national average in both the city and county.”
After considering several other sites and facilities, nothing seemed to compare to its former building with renovations, Humphrey said.
Finding Cullman EMS a permanent location has been a priority over the past 18 months, and the committee has spent countless hours working on that task, CRMC Board Chairman Todd McLeroy said.
“The time and effort they put into making sure that this was the most suitable location for our ambulance service should definitely be applauded,” McLeroy said.
Added Sellers: “We’re just very happy to get such a beautiful, modern building and have a modern EMS system that the people of Cullman and Cullman County can be proud of.”
Tiffeny Owens can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.