Moneta rescue expanding crew hall

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By John Barnhart

Moneta Rescue Squad’s crew hall was just fine when it was originally built, but it finally reached the point of being marginally adequate.
    John Singer, captain of the Moneta Rescue Squad, notes one issue — the width of the ambulance bays — as an example. Ambulances were a lot smaller 40 years ago. Today ambulances have one inch to spare on each side when they pull out.
    Another issue is the lack of insulation. Singer said it’s a cinderblock building with no insulation at all.
    “We are totally remodeling our original building and expanding it,” Singer said.”We totally gutted the existing building. It’s going to be brought up to code, with insulation.”
    The expansion is adding a 64-foot by 36-foot addition “with four nice, new ambulance bays,” Singer said.
    The old bays will be turned into his and hers bunk rooms with bathrooms, showers and washer and dryer hookups. Singer said there are rescue squad members who are willing to take turns staying overnight at the crew hall. This will improve response times. It will also be helpful during weather related emergencies because these are the times when ambulances are more likely to be needed and rescue squad members could find it difficult, or impossible, to get from their homes to the crew hall.
    The Moneta Rescue Squad provides space for Southside Seniors to meet and Singer said the renovation will totally redo the kitchen with a new stove, new refrigerators and new cabinets. The crew hall will also have Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms.
    The remodel and expansion is costing $500,000. The rescue squad got a construction loan from Stellar One Bank so that the work, which is being done by F & S Innovations, in Roanoke, could begin last fall.
    Of course the loan must be paid back and the faster the rescue squad can pay it off, the less interest it has to pay. Singer said that the squad has a pledge from a foundation for $210,000, to be paid in three $70,000 annual installments. He has also submitted grant requests.
    Anybody wishing to help the Moneta Rescue Squad pay off this debt may send checks to The Moneta Rescue Squad, P. O. Box 497, Moneta, Virginia, 24121. The rescue squad is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit and contributions are tax deductible.
    Singer expects the remodel and expansion to be done by May 1. Once that’s done, the rescue squad plans to hold a weekend grand opening, with an open house so members can show folks around their new facility.