Regional ambulance seeks move to Whately 

  • The Whately town office building, formerly the regional library building, will be the future home of South County EMS. Recorder/Paul Franz

For the Gazette
Friday, June 24, 2016

SUNDERLAND — South County EMS has decided that the new Whately town office building is the best fit for its future permanent home.

After voting to reject an initial proposal from Whately for technical reasons, the ambulance company’s board of oversight approved a second vote Thursday to begin negotiating for space in the one-time regional library building.

Zach Smith, chief and director of South County EMS, said that if the initial proposal had been accepted, there would not have been much room for the service to negotiate the design schematics.

“As presented, we didn’t think it was something we could agree with,” Smith said. “But we want to enter into negotiations with them separately.”

The office building was one of two submissions following a request for proposals earlier this month.

The other was for space at the former South Deerfield Fire Department building in the center of the village. The former fire station was converted into a private business and residence in 1994.

Smith said the former fire department building was too small to house the ambulance service.

During a Deerfield Select Board meeting Wednesday night, John Paciorek, who served on the town’s Select Board for 18 years, said he does not believe the service should move at all, an argument made in recent months by others in Deerfield. He argued that Deerfield would save money in utility and renovation costs by keeping the ambulance service where it is currently housed, in the South Deerfield fire station.

“What happens when you start adding up figures, it’ll be cost prohibitive for South County EMS to go into Whately,” he said. “I’m looking at the facts and figures, and what the true costs” would be.

Smith said he is excited that the process is moving forward, and said he is optimistic that an agreement can be made with Whately that meets the needs of South County EMS.