The West Side Community Ambulance is just a couple weeks away from moving into their new headquarters in Newman and leaving behind the old facility along Highway 33.
Earlier this year the West Side Community Healthcare District, which oversees the ambulance service, purchased the property at 531 Hills Ferry Road to serve as the new crew headquarters. The property was purchased from the Lucas Family Trust for $400,000 through a revenue bond. The remodel to the site, which had previously been a farm equipment dealership and more recently a real estate office, was estimated to cost around $120,000. However, with supply shortages and some other factors, the cost is closer to $220,000, said Michael Courtney, chief of ambulance operations. New furnishings and appliances added approximately $32,000 to the cost.
Currently, ambulance crews are housed at the former West Side Community Hospital building between Newman and Gustine. The building though has had several issues over the past years that have been pricey fixes for the District.
“There was a problem with the sprinklers and that was $3,000 to $4,000 and then there was an issue with a well, and that was another $4,000,” Courtney said. “Then there was a flood and that cost around $10,000.”
Additionally, the District had to start paying rent on the site, which ran around $3,500 a month and heating and cooling the building was running around $3,000, Courtney said.
The new headquarters feature a day room, a full kitchen, a conference/training room, five sleeping quarters and two bathrooms. It also has a garage with five bays that will hold all four of the District’s ambulances and allows for the fifth to be used for laundry and any other need.
“Having the garage is a big plus for us,” Courtney said. “The bones of this place really met our needs. It gives us room to grow and I expect we will be here for the long-term.”
The new site is close to two Newman thoroughfares — Merced Street/Hills Ferry Road and the nearby Sherman Parkway — and Canal School Road offers a quick route to Gustine calls.
“This site is going to help with our response times to both towns,” Courtney said. “It’s a great location with super access.”
The actual move will take some logistical planning, but once they facility is set up and crews moved in, the District plans on hosting an open house.