ESD#5 celebrates new station
By David Taylor
Despite wilting heat, on Monday, July 31, dozens gathered on Stroker Road in Crosby to celebrate the groundbreaking of the third Crosby EMS station. Shielded only by a small tent, mostly officials and rank and file met for the auspicious occasion that helps address growth in the Crosby area and is intended to reduce response times in the northern part of the district.
“I first want to thank all the people who made this possible—the people who own property here in Crosby and the businesses that provide the services where we get our sales tax from,” said Emergency Services District 5 President Sharon Cotton. “This is going to allow us to have a new facility that gets to our taxpayers, or anybody quickly that has a medical emergency,” she told the crowd.
Behind the scenes, work on the new station has been ongoing for the last year or so, hitting a snag with a previous architect. A new one was secured in Slattery Tackett Architects and Maco Construction as the contractor for the job.
Site work for the new station began the following day.
The $4 million price tag for the new station comes in a little higher than normal with reason.
“We started tweaking the designed project about eight months ago to fit it to their needs and their budget,” said architect David Slattery.
They secured the permits and are ready for the start of construction.
Slattery explained the price for the station.
“With this particular location, as you look around, you see it’s an undeveloped piece of property, which is great. But electricity is the only utility that’s available to the site. Everything else we have to do, we have to do on site which includes sanitary, water well and so that provides a lot of extra infrastructure requirements,” he said.
In addition, since it’s a station where medics will be sleeping to provide round the clock fire protection, they are required to have an underground water storage tank to fight a fire at the station should that ever happen.
“There’s a lot that gets packed onto the site. It looks like there’s a lot of space but we’re using every square inch of it,” he said including a required detention pond. Stripping of the soil and existing grass began the next morning, according to Michael Jenkins, project manager for Maco Construction.
“We’ll also start digging a pond up front and a long driveway along the east side of the property and the buildings will be in the very back,” he said. Jenkins said when it rains, the water can just roll off into the pond.
“We’re hoping to get most of the site work done by the end of the year, and we’ll begin the standing building by the first of the year,” he said.
Underground materials for storm pipe, concrete, rebar will arrive first with construction materials for the building later in the year.
Jenkins said the construction should take approximately one year to complete with the EMS being able to move in during August 2024.
Crosby EMS director Christy Graves said this station was necessary and soon.
“We did a study of our highest call volume area by zones, and we discovered we had a large gap area in the Lake Shadows, Indian Shores area between the Huffman ambulance and us. The response times there were three to six minutes greater than anywhere else in the district based on a one-way access into that neighborhood,” she said.
Graves said that could make a big difference in care.
“For us it’s not minutes that count, but seconds,” she stressed.
For many of the medics who are sleeping in the hallways on cots at Station 1 since there’s no room, it will be a welcome sight.
“The station will be a huge relief for the increased staff that we have. We have multiple ambulances at one station,” she said. “There is currently a national paramedic shortage and we’re also having difficulty getting ambulances manufactured.”
Graves said the station is not a Taj Mahal but fits their needs perfectly.
“We don’t do fancy we just do what we need, and we make the best of what we have,” Cotton added.