By Tawnya Panizzi, Staff Writer
Originally printed in the Herald (1 June 2006)
Foxwall EMS is expected this week to kick-off its $250,000 capital campaign to help cover the cost of building its new home along Squaw Run Road.
Having outgrown its location adjacent to the Fox Chapel municipal building along Fox Chapel Road, Foxwall will see its new home less than one mile away.
“We’ve gotten pretty crammed in here,” said Executive Director Rick Duffy, from a small lounge in the current site. “This building was designed for use back in the 1980s.”
The new operational base will sit on the former Trassoti property, next to McCahill Field.
Costs are expected to top $500,000, half of which already has been raised through private donations.
The service does not receive municipal funding.
Last week, the move kicked into high gear with crews razing the home that sat on the property. An official ground-breaking for the new headquarters was held Memorial Day.
Construction is expected to be complete in six months.
An expanded site will accommodate potential growth for the ambulance service, the last in western Pennsylvania that is all-volunteer and not affiliated with a fire company.
Currently, there are 37 members who operate from a cramped hall that includes a lounge, an office and a bedroom that is big enough only to hold bunk-beds.
“My office is a like a shoe box,” said Gordon Fisher, operations administrator. His tiny office, though well-organized, is brimming with books and paperwork and leaves little space for work.
The new garage will offer twice as much space for office work as well as separate bedrooms for crew members who choose to bunk there.
A highlight of the new site will be a training room, Duffy said. Members currently have to utilize space at the borough building for education or other exercises.
The move has been two years in the making. Founded in 1978, Foxwall has seen consistent growth and now responds to about 1,000 calls each year in Aspinwall, Blawnox and Fox Chapel.
Duffy said he eyed the Squaw Valley Road property particularly because it enables the group to remain centrally located to the residents it serves.
The new space also will enable increased offerings to the public, such as blood pressure screenings, flu shot distribution, first-aid training, CPR and AED classes.
Fox Chapel officials already have said they are interested in purchasing the existing Foxwall building for potential space for a new community library.