Wake County commissioners today agreed to move forward with plans to build a new, 12,748-square-foot regional emergency medical services station in the Town of Garner. The Garner Main EMS Station is a prototype that will serve not only as a base of operations for the units and personnel deployed there, but as a hub for Wake County EMS providers throughout the region.
“As our county grows, it’s important for our EMS system to grow as well,” said Wake County Commissioner and Public Safety Committee Chair Matt Calabria. “This regional station will enable Wake County EMS to continue to provide excellent, essential services to the residents in and around Garner – and do so in a smart, efficient way that will benefit the county as a whole now and in the future.”
Garner's population, which is currently growing at a rate of 2.8% annually, has increased by 32.2% since 2010, according to the U.S. Census. Garner's EMS call volume is currently growing by 3.52% annually, and its call volume has increased by 43.22% from 2010 to 2021.
While many smaller EMS systems are building large, centralized buildings to house equipment and deploy staff, Wake County’s unique characteristics – its size, population and increased call volume – don’t make it a great fit for that model.
Instead, the county is transitioning to a regional model, which will allow it to leverage existing facilities, much like law enforcement. Wake County EMS units will be able to stay in their areas to resupply, rather than driving back to a central location in Raleigh – decreasing the time they are out of service.
The Garner Main EMS Station will offer expanded medical storage, oxygen inventory and dedicated space for on-duty training. It will feature six bay parking spaces for emergency vehicles and three covered service bays to service, resupply and stock EMS response units. An electric vehicle charging station, along with two parking spaces, will be located on site.
Wake County EMS currently operates out of the Garner Fire Station #3. The fire department, also facing a growing population and increased call volume, will expand into the space vacated by EMS.
Construction on the new station, which will be located on part of the Timber Drive Elementary School property along Thompson Road, is expected to cost $7.62 million. The Board of Commissioners today agreed to award the construction contract to Racanelli Construction of Apex. Construction should begin in July 2022 and wrap up in the fall of 2023.
The building is another example of Wake County’s commitment to sustainability.
In 2018, the Wake County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution endorsing the goal of achieving 100% Clean Energy by 2050. That same year, the board approved the county’s updated Energy Design and Management Guidelines to require all new facilities to be solar-ready.
The Garner Main EMS Station will be the second county facility to open with solar panels built into its original design. This will generate 40,000 kilowatts of power annually, offsetting 34% of the building’s electric consumption and saving $2,600 annually.
This project is part of Wake County’s solar portfolio, which will total 530 kW-DC once this project is complete. That’s enough to power about 40 homes and offset the greenhouse gas emissions of 74 passenger cars each year.