A new building in White, South Dakota, will house local emergency preparedness, planning and response services.
The city partnered with its wholesale electric power provider, Heartland Energy, to pursue the project.
Heartland awarded $405,000 in financing and grants towards the building’s construction and equipment.
The city first recognized its need for a new facility back in 2019, Heartland Energy noted on Jan. 9.
The existing emergency services building was built in 1973 and has been showing signs of age.
“Size was also an issue. At just 2,400 square feet, the building was enveloped from within as emergency vehicles were replaced with larger models and more tools and equipment lined the walls,” Heartland Energy noted.
Mayor Scott Gladis said it was difficult to host meetings or training sessions in the makeshift meeting room and kitchen, Heartland Energy reported.
The city formed a committee with representatives from the fire department, ambulance service and city council. Their goal was to develop a plan that would meet current needs as well as accommodate future growth in the city and surrounding area.
Officials broke ground on the Emergency Services building July 1. The new facility is nearly triple in size at 6,300 square feet.
It will serve as headquarters for White’s 25-member volunteer fire department and 11-member ambulance service. It will also house the city’s ambulance and fire trucks.
In addition to garage and storage, the building features a 600 square-foot meeting and education room plus a kitchen, two bathrooms and utility room.
“The meeting room will be used for training our EMS personnel as well as educational opportunities,” said Gladis. “We can use it to instruct citizens and children on fire and electrical safety, drugs and alcohol use and more.”
Gladis said the partnership with Heartland Energy was a vital piece of the puzzle in completing this project.
“It is so important to have a public power provider like Heartland to provide amazing resources,” Gladis said. “We want to thank them for what they do.”
Heartland provides wholesale electric power to White and other municipalities in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.
Its customer service suite includes economic development programs designed to bolster growth in its customer communities.
The Heartland Economic Development Loan Program, or HELP Fund, offers low-interest financing with favorable terms to help qualifying projects reach fruition.
Economic development grants support projects which spark growth and development or help utilities best serve their customers, Heartland Energy noted.
White received HELP Fund financing towards the construction of the building. It was also awarded an economic development grant towards the purchase of an onsite generator.
“The generator will be able to power the building for up to three days before refueling is needed. It allows us to dual purpose the building as a local emergency shelter,” said Gladis.
Construction is expected to be complete in January 2024.
“Quality of life is an important aspect of economic development,” said Heartland Energy Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree. “This new building will serve the community for years to come, provide essential services and much needed space. We are proud to help the community of White make this a reality.”