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Construction for Medic Base in Vilas Complete, Likely Taking Calls By Middle of Next Week

Construction of the new medic base in Watauga County on U.S. 321 in Vilas is now complete. Watauga Medics should be taking calls from the station next week. Photo by Jesse Wood

By Jesse Wood

Construction of the new medic base across the street from Skateworld on U.S. 321 is complete, and Watauga Medics will likely start taking calls from the new ambulance station by the middle of next week.

“I am waiting [on getting] the phones hooked up and once that happens and the network is installed, we are ready to go,” Watauga Medics CEO Craig Sullivan said on Friday afternoon.

Watauga County Manager Deron Geouque announced Watauga Medics’ transition to the new medic base at a bi-monthly earlier this week. Geouque noted that a grand opening date will be set for the facility in the near future.

Figures as of summer 2013.
Figures as of summer 2013.

At the same meeting on Tuesday, Commissioner Billy Kennedy noted that this “exciting” development would cut down emergency response times in Western Watauga.

An ambulance station in Western Watauga has been a topic of discussion by commissioners for years. Data compiled for the commissioners in 2013, showed that districts such as Shawneehaw, Cove Creek, Beaver Dam, and Zionville, featured the slowest response times than districts in other parts of the county.

On average, the districts in Western Watauga featured an emergency response time of 18:20 minutes and represent 17 percent of all the calls in the county. More isolated regions in western portion of the county can take up to 30 minutes or longer from the two stations in Boone. See attached map to see how this compares to other response times.

Watauga County purchased 13 acres in 2014 for 102,000 for the site of this medic base. Construction began during the winter of 2015-16. McGuire Construction, the lowest bidder, was awarded the project with a bid of $558,097, and Geouque set aside $150,000 for contingency.

Commissioners also agreed to fund an additional 12-hour shift for Watauga Medics for the additional site at about $170,000. The final cost of the project wasn’t immediately available on Friday, but this post will be updated with that figure as soon as possible.