It’s taken years, but the ambulance unit serving most of Central Oahu is finally getting its own facility.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place Tuesday at the site of its future home on Ukee Street in Waipio.
Emergency Medical Services has been leasing space, operating out of a warehouse near Kaiser Permanente.
We first told you about the need for the facility five years ago, so why did it take so long?
Back in 2009, state funds were appropriated for the project, but then lapsed under the previous administration.
“The Carlisle administration was not supportive of any CIP (Capital Improvement Program) money for any new projects, so there was a discussion and the city at that time refused encumbering the money,” explained Emergency Services Department director Mark Rigg. “We were re-approached in this administration. Mayor Caldwell and Sen. (Michelle) Kidani (D, Mililani Town, Waipio Gentry, Waikele) talked, and it was agreed that the monies would be accepted by the city, and the planning and design process began.”
This will be the first EMS facility to be built since 2010, and Rigg says it couldn’t come at a better time.
“Leeward side is getting busier and busier. More 911 calls are coming into the communications center from this area,” Rigg said. “Lot of times the ambulances cross over to their adjacent districts to care for the community, and really having something that we can call home, put our equipment and supplies here, an ambulance, a crew here 24/7, 365 days of the year, it really is a step forward for us.”
The facility costs $3.85 million and will take approximately 400 days to complete. It is expected to open in spring 2017.
Four new ambulances will also be added to the fleet serving Makiki, Manoa, Chinatown, and other communities.