John Christmann, president of the SVFAS, made a presentation before the council in which he described the current building's deficiencies which include insufficient garage space to house existing vehicles, bays that are not tall enough to accommodate modern ambulances, structural damage that is beyond repair, lack of sleeping quarters, insufficient storage, and inadequate decontamination facilities needed to meet today’s standards for blood-borne pathogens and other hazardous materials.
While the current building has a flat roof which leaks, the new building will have a peaked roof. Christmann explained that another thing that was important to the volunteer squad was that the building itself fit in with its surroundings. As such, the new building will incorporate design elements from the Summit train station and middle school. Even its bay doors will mimic the barn door style found at the fire house and the old city hall, Christmann pointed out.
Wanting to be as sensitive to the neighbors as possible, the bay doors will now face the middle school to reduce noise. The squad also held a meeting with those within a 200-foot radius to elicit feedback. Christmann said attendees were very supportive of the squad's plans.
During construction, which is expected to take one year, the squad will relocate temporarily. Salerno Duane of Summit has offered space to house the first aid squad to ensure seamless continuity of services and operations.
"It's centrally located and very close to the hospital," Christmann said.
The estimated cost of the project is $5 million and thanks to the generosity of Summit residents, Christmann said the squad is well on its way to reaching that number, which be funded soley by private donations.
Prior to his presentation, Mayor Ellen Dickson proclaimed September 'Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad Month' and thanked Christmann and his fellow volunteers for their efforts. She also presented him with a check from her and her husband and encouraged residents to lend the squad their financial support as well.
Dickson added that the all-volunteer organization saves Summit taxpayers $1 million annually.