Johnson County's new Ambulance Services building progresses

Officials expect construction to be completed in March

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IOWA CITY — IOWA CITY — The new Johnson County Ambulance Service building at 808 S. Dubuque St. is on track to be completed by the end of March 2017.

The Iowa City Council last week unanimously agreed to rezone neighboring property at 818 S. Dubuque St. as public property so it can be incorporated into the project. The rezoning goes through two more council readings before becoming official, though the city already has issued a building permit.

Steve Spenler, director of Ambulance Services, said the building also will house the medical examiner’s office and provide storage space for the county auditor’s office.

He said his department expects to move into the new space next April.

County supervisors awarded the $7.5 million construction contract for the new building in March to Dubuque-based Portzen Construction.

Spenler said the new two-story, 34-100-square-foot building has more space than the previous one, which has been in use since 1988. The newest ambulances the county owns, he said, cannot fit into the old building and are housed elsewhere.

Spenler said the new space will have better lighting, air conditioning and heating. Plans also call for an outdoor recreation space meant to help employees decompress.

“It’s just a better, healthier space for the crews to operate out of,” he said.

The building is included in the city’s Riverfront Crossings District, a neighborhood just south of downtown where the city is encouraging redevelopment. The building was designed to be compatible with the urban neighborhood concept envisioned for the area, according to county documents.

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