Brighton Volunteer Ambulance officials recently broke ground for the renovation and expansion of its current base located at 1551 Winton Road S.
Joining BVA officials were New York Sen. Joseph E. Robach, R-56th District, and Legislative Aide Tyler Swartz representing New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle and Brighton Town Supervisor William W. Moehle.
Spencer P. Kennedy, a past active BVA member, now with honorary status, gave an invocation at the beginning of the ceremony.
Brighton Volunteer Ambulance President Daniel L. McCue Ill welcomed the gathering. Included were elected and appointed officials from state and local government, as well as members of the Brighton Public Safety Team including Brighton police, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and the Brighton and Rochester fire departments. McCue highlighted the ambulance corps’ 31-year history serving the town of Brighton. Founded in 1983, the first ambulance responded to a call in 1986. The first BVA base was a space rented from WXXI Radio on French Road. A temporary lean-to provided cover to the single second-hand ambulance BVA had purchased. In their first year, BVA crews responded to 1,500 calls.
BVA President McCue said that the ambulance corps founders were primarily local business people from Brighton and Pittsford. They set the tone for financial stewardship. Every expense carefully scrutinized. That environment has continued through the years. Money was set aside each year, saving toward the future. Just like a new couple gets a starter house and as their family grows, they save for a larger home.
McCue said maintaining close communications with state and local government representatives is important. Not just talking to them at the annual banquet, but also keeping them aware of what is happening in emergency medical services and let them know the needs. They often reach out for answers to constituent questions about EMS.
BVA Vice President and Project Management Director Dennis J. Mietz continued with the history of BVA. In 1987, BVA purchased the home of its current base on the corner of Winton Road, South and Westfall Road. The BVA founders carefully chose this site. Looking at a town map, the base is in the center of the town giving the ambulance the ability to serve its coverage area expediently.
The call volume for Brighton Volunteer Ambulance has grown to nearly 5,600 emergency calls a year. The fleet that started with one ambulance is now up to five ambulances and two emergency ambulance service vehicles, typically used by BVA paramedics. With additional crews, administrative staff and storage space and added garage space the plan is to expand the current 4,500-square-foot-facility to about 10,594 square feet. The added storage space will enable BVA to eliminate its leased offsite storage. They will continue to maintain their training center in leased space at the nearby Brookside Elementary School.
BVA reviewed existing studies of EMS needs for the community and conducted its own research. That information determined the needs to serve the town of Brighton now and in the future. It was determined, now, that renovation of the existing space and expansion on the current site was the best option.
The expansion project will allow BVA many benefits that will benefit the community. With all offices and crew quarters located on the first floor, the second floor will be dedicated for storage. This will allow enhanced energy-efficiency in the building. The first aid area for walk-in patients will have greater privacy. One of BVA’s popular features for town residents, Loan Closet that includes crutches, canes and wheelchairs, will be relocated near the public entrance.
The current four-bay garage will increase to an eight-bay garage and allow BVA to store its vehicles inside in a secure location and within a temperature-controlled environment. New York State Department of Health regulations require certain equipment and medications kept within such a setting. Currently, the ambulance crews have to move equipment and medication out of vehicles during periods of temperature extremes.
BVA Vice President Dennis Mietz spoke about the cost of this undertaking. Based on initial estimates, the total project cost will be about $1,797,000. This money comes from a variety of sources including purposed dedicated funds from operations, public donations, bequests and grants.
Mietz spoke about the BVA New Building Committee with a representative from the volunteers, career staff and the BVA chief of EMS operations, who had input into the building design. Working with the architects, MRB Group Engineering, the New Building Committee reviewed space needs, floor plan layout, choice of flooring materials and interior colors. The building addition designed to look like a large barn, which complements the historic house and pays tribute to Brighton’s history.
Nichols Construction Team was awarded the construction contract, said Mietz. He went on to say Brighton Volunteer Ambulance is pleased that with MRB Group Engineering, along with Nichols Construction Team, the new facility was able to be designed and built by local Rochester companies.
BVA Government Liaison Michael E. Pollock explained that grant funding was achieved for this project by fostering a close working relationship with their New York State legislators, Robach and Morelle over many years. Keeping them advised on how BVA served the public and initiatives introduced to improve the level of service to the community, the agency assisted the legislators in understanding issues concerning EMS and the public.
“I was proud to secure a $250,000 grant from New York State for Brighton Volunteer Ambulance. The men and women of Brighton Volunteer Ambulance respond to over 5,600 emergencies every year and provide countless other services to the people and families of the town of Brighton,” said Robach. “With this $250,000 grant, Brighton Volunteer Ambulance will be able to modernize and construct a state-of-the-art facility to better serve the people of the community. I have and will continue to be a strong supporter of Brighton Volunteer Ambulance.”
Legislative Aide Tyler Swartz represented Morelle, who was called to Albany. He read a letter from Morelle saying, “The expansion you break ground upon today is a critical investment in BVA’s future — it will provide much-needed facility upgrades and ensure the men and women of Brighton Volunteer Ambulance are able to perform their jobs at the highest level. I am truly grateful to all of our local ambulance personnel who selflessly and courageously put themselves in harm’s way to serve our community, and I am proud to have been able to secure $250,000 in state funding to support BVA in their important work. Especially now, after the many devastating storms and weather events we’ve experienced this year, we are reminded of how crucial our volunteer first responders are in times of crisis. We are blessed to have such devoted individuals we can count on in times of need.”
“The town of Brighton is grateful to Sen. Joe Robach and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle for their help and support in securing funding for the cost of an important addition to the headquarters of Brighton Volunteer Ambulance,” said Moehle.
BVA has been a steward of the landmark property at 1551 Winton Road S. that serves as their headquarters. From this location, BVA provides high quality emergency medical service throughout Brighton. The planned expansion space will enhance BVA’s capabilities and support increasing call volumes.
Vice President Mietz added that BVA did not have to run a capital campaign for funding the planned expansion or ask the town to raise the Special Ambulance District taxes for any part of this project. The Exceptional New York State grants totaling $500,000 met the final portion of the financial goal for the ambulance base expansion. Being able to combine that money with their own and spend it with local companies is investing in the community, as well as themselves.
A traditional groundbreaking ceremony took place on the front lawn of the base. It included Robach; Moehle; Swartz; McCue; Dennis J. Mietz, BVA chief of EMS operations; and John Nichols, president/CEO of Nichols Construction Team.
Brighton Volunteer Ambulance President McCue expressed gratitude on behalf of the ambulance corps.
“We are fortunate to have garnered such great support from our state and local officials, as well as our community,” said McCue. “Our volunteer and career members will continue to be leaders in Emergency Medical Services and providing premier pre-hospital care. We take pride in being part of the Brighton public safety team.”