Johnson Co. opens new Ambulance Service and Medical Examiner Bui - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Johnson Co. opens new Ambulance Service and Medical Examiner Building

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After over a decade of planning and preparing, the new Ambulance Service and Medical Examiner Building has opened in Johnson County.

The building, located near downtown Iowa City, cost the county about $7.69 million dollars and replaces the old building, which was an old auction barn that the county bought and turned into an ambulance service.

Janelle Rettig, Johnson County Board of Supervisor Chair, said the old building was never meant to be a 24/7 service.

"The way they've had to operate with the growing population has just been very difficult," Rettig said about the ambulance service and the medical examiner. The medical examiner's office was previously located in the treasurer's office.

Johnson County Ambulance Director, Steve Spenler, said the new building was worth the wait.

"This facility has been needed for 15 years.  It's been on my agenda the entire time I was director. I'm thankful that we waited because the product that we would have had years ago wouldn't have been anything like this," Spenler said.

The new building, they said, is better suited for the growing population. Funding increases also let them hire more workers and keep ambulances on the streets longer. In August, a new ambulance will be added, which increases their fleet size to eight.

"We've almost doubled our call volume. We're fortunate to have the support of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors who recognize medical emergency services as an essential service that they want to provide to their community," Spenler said.

Rettig said the new building is outfitted for 15 to 20 years of growth for both departments. Currently, the auditor and power plant will share space in the building. If the medical examiner and ambulance service were to outgrow their space in that time, they would then take over those areas.

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