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St. Mary's EMS moves

the new St. Mary's EMS building is now up and running on 225 Park Street, next to the hospital's new campus construction

"It's the best EMS week we've ever had," smiled St. Mary's EMS Manager David Langworthy, as he walked around the department's brand new building.

The Emergency Medical Services used to be located on 1240 Washington Avenue, but after two years of waiting and hoping, the crews made the move over to a newly constructed 11,000-square-foot building, located at 225 Park Street, right behind the Holiday Gas Station, in amongst the new Essentia St. Mary's campus construction.

"It's almost twice as big as our old place, with our garage being about four times as big," said Langworthy.

A bigger garage for the ambulances is a big deal for the operation of EMS because it is more than a place to park.

"It's our workspace -- we do a lot of work where the vehicles are parked restocking trucks, checking equipment and supplies, cleaning trucks..."

Langworthy says the four ambulances and their crews had long outgrown the old facility.

"It was so cramped, we couldn't open cabinets, we couldn't get cots out, so it just didn't make for a very good working environment for us."

The April 30 move brought with it the normal pains of picking an entire functioning organization up and setting it down someplace else, but Langworthy says this new location is ideal for both them and the public who may depend on quick response time.

"We have great access to our patients here," said Langworthy, "With the realignment of highway 10, we can go east and west to surrounding communities very quickly and also north under the underpass ... you can't get much better than this."

Langworthy says not only can they get in and out quicker and easier, but quieter as well.

"You should hear less of us now because we don't have to go through town."

Langworthy helped design the layout of the building, which he says will make a difference in functionality.

"Who better to help design the place then the people who use it everyday?"

Langworthy says the crews have been making their wish lists for a long time now, and are grateful they got what they needed.

"We now have windows and light, a space that's clean, fresh air, and much more parking space that we don't have to rent and share."

The building, located "on campus" will also serve as a meeting space and training center for Essentia St. Mary's.

"So we really are an asset to the campus as well," Langworthy added.

Crews will also be able to stay overnight more comfortably, as their living quarters are now separated from the general public, a luxury they did not have at the old facility.

"There are four sleep rooms with wireless and TVs, plus two bathrooms and quick access to the garage where the ambulances are."

A commercial-grade car wash sits in that garage so crews can keep the ambulances clean and safe.

"Because every patient deserves the same treatment as the one who got the first ride of the day," said Langworthy.

With the brickwork now finished on the exterior, Langworthy says they just have some final touches on the inside as well as landscaping.

Langworthy says the ample space will also accommodate possible growth down the line.

"Who knows how many trucks we'll need or how big they'll be, so we really did built this place for the future -- we're very happy about it."