Barrie Construction Report staff writer
The new Simcoe County paramedic and ambulance station will open this fall on the site of the old fire hall at West St. S. in Orillia.
Barrie-based Bertram Construction is building the 10,400 sq. ft. structure with eight bays. It will provide paramedic teams with support equipment, locker room facilities, a supervisor’s office and a crew room.
Shane Smith, deputy chief, County of Simcoe Paramedic Services, says the new location is expected to reduce response times significantly in Orillia’s high call volume areas and allow paramedic services improved access to surrounding communities.
The project is the result of a long term strategic facility plan initiated by the County of Simcoe and aimed at “providing efficient and responsive paramedic services now and into the future.” The plan included establishing a paramedic presence in more areas within the region.
Smith says: “The building is the third and the largest paramedic station to be built using our expandable building template that we will use for all future paramedic stations. Working with our architects, the County of Simcoe Paramedic Service have developed a template that can shrink or grow depending on the number of paramedics assigned to the station which allows design, time and construction cost savings.”
In announcing the ground breaking, the county’s website had quoted warden Gerry Marshall as saying: “Our paramedics strive to respond to emergency calls as quickly as possible. By strategically placing our new Orillia station on West St. S., it is anticipated that we will increase the number of responses within eight minutes to more than 96 per cent of calls, therefore improving the outcomes for residents across this city and growing region.”
The building is equipped with infrastructure specific to the department’s requirements, including an emergency power generator. “The station is outfitted with direct telephone lines to the Central Ambulance Communication Centre to communication with paramedic dispatchers. The crew room consists of seating for paramedics, a small kitchen and dining area,” says Smith.
Sustainability has been factored into the station’s design. Dawn Hipwell, director of procurement, fleet and property, County of Simcoe, says some of the components, such as occupancy sensors, elevated insulation values and mechanical controls for heating and ventilation that were factored in the original design have since become part of the building code.
The station also uses renewable wood, a compact floorplan and minimal window to wall ratio, recycled steel, hardy planting that will require minimal watering, low flow fixtures and LED lighting.
The outdoor landscaping has been designed to be aesthetically pleasing and to fit well within the existing neighbourhood, Smith says. It will also feature public bench seating in front of the station.