County moving forward with Keokuk EMS facility

Steering committee to get plans underway for new quarters


LEE COUNTY – County officials are moving forward with plans to construct a new ambulance bay in Keokuk.

During a workshop Monday with A.C. Contracting the board discussed the new structure and what it should entail.

Lee County EMS director Mark Long and representatives of the company agreed to meet Monday afternoon to look at the current facility in Keokuk. Long said ultimately the current facility would need to be taken down, but he’d like to keep that base functional through the construction phase

“After that, I don’t know that we’ll need it, but that’s something we can re-evaluate later,” Long said.

“I have some concerns about the structural integrity of the current building. It certainly can be looked at, but if we’re looking at something long-term, I don’t think that’s the way we want to go. If you shut the walk-in door by the garage, the entire wall shakes.”

Board chairman Garry Seyb suggested that a steering committee be involved to make sure the construction is best suited for the EMS service and the community.

Wes Ames, of A.C. Contracting, was hired as the project manager for the work after interviews last week. Carl A. Nelson also submitted a bid for the work.

Ames told the board having a project manager as well as the General Contractor for the work will save the county some money, but he asked what bidding looked like for the county government.

Lee County maintenance director Kirk Nafziger told him the architect on the job, which is Poepping, Stone & Bach Associates, would probably handle the bidding requirements.

Ames said he plans on bidding some of the work packages, but said he would be able to save the county money because of their proximity to the project site, and services they could provide within their fee structure as general contractor.

Supervisor Tom Schulz said what he was hearing during Monday’s workshop isn’t what he understood from the interview process a couple weeks ago.

“This isn’t exactly the presentation we had before. The presentation I heard was you would save us some levels because you‘re the general contractor, but all these bids will be locked in and it would be us opening the bids. If you got it great, but if you didn’t get it great. This is not the same conversation we had two weeks ago,” said Chairman Tom Schulz.

"We’re going to go after parts and pieces of this to try and finish our bid as a General Contractor,” Ames said. “But worst-case scenario is if we don’t get anything as far as a bid, we’re back to a project manager that can save you money.”

In an unrelated item, the board approved hiring an administrative assistant position that will be split two days with the Lee County Health Department and three days with Lee County EMS. Despite the county ordering a soft hiring freeze through September, the position was authorized to assist with billing at EMS and administrative functions at the Health Department.

LCHD Administrator Michele Ross said an employee had recently retired so the position would actually be a partial new hire. The position would have to be posted, but current deputy auditor Sara Helenthal is currently functioning in that role for EMS and is paid partially out of the current EMS budget.

Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise said if Helenthal applies and is hired for the position, Fraise would not replace her in the auditor's department.

In other action, the board:
• approved a resolution in support of Fort Madison's RAISE grant application for funding to help offset costs of replacing the one-way pairs at 18th and 20th Streets as part of the Highway 61 project.
• approved a resolution of support for legislation that would restrict plans for carbon capture pipelines.

Fort Madison, Lee County, construction, EMS building, bays, AC Contracting Wesley Ames, Pen City Current, news,


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