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Green County EMS about $100K from new building
Green County EMS bought this empty lot on 12th Street with some of its donations and hopes to build a new building here once it can raise enough money. (Times photo: Tom Holm)
MONROE - Green County EMS is about $100,000 short on funds to start building a new home for their emergency services.

Dan Nufer, EMS chief, said he has been in talks with the Wisconsin Cheese Group, which is looking to purchase the land EMS had already bought across the street from their current location on 12th Street. EMS bought the property a couple of years ago for the site of their new building, but if they decide to sell it to the Wisconsin Cheese Group, EMS could have to look at raising more funds to tear down The Monroe Lumber Company to build at its location just east of the EMS office.

Nufer said they have had preliminary discussions with the Wisconsin Cheese Group about buying and tearing down The Monroe Lumber Company, but no decisions have been made yet. Green County EMS has raised a little more than $1.4 million in pledges and donations so far. Nufer said if they can reach $1.5 million they can start looking towards building in about a year.

Green County EMS is a volunteer-based service that offers its volunteers about $8 per hour for every call. Nufer said the average volunteer can't make a living with these wages and that the job is more about volunteering than making money.

Nufer said they received more than 1,500 calls last year, and they need extra room for their volunteers and to house supplies. The plan is to add three more bays for ambulances and double the square footage of their current office. Nufer estimated the new building would be about 12,000 square feet, which would include five ambulance bays and 10 bedrooms that could house about three full EMS crews. Nufer said they currently have four beds, and he has people sleeping in chairs and on couches to accommodate everyone.

CPR mannequins are crammed under tables, and boxes lay everywhere there is space. Most of the boxes are filled with records. Syringes, gear, clothes, blankets and pillows are in every nook and cranny. The EMS station is overflowing, and Nufer said it comes from poor planning 12 years ago when they decided to build another level to the station.

"We want to plan 20 to 25 years out into the future," he said. "We don't want to do what we did 12 years ago and build something that will be too small in four years."

Green County EMS is a 501(c)4 company, which means they are not for profit, but not tax exempt. They do not receive any federal or state tax dollars and rely solely on donations and money garnered from calls to pay for gear and volunteers. They bill patients or their insurance providers for ambulance rides.

"Nobody here is making money off of this work," Nufer said.

Initial designs have the building as being all on one floor. Nufer said if they agree to buy and tear down the lumber company they would have to redraw plans for a two-story building. Angus Young Associates drew up designs for the building and the company has experience building fire stations and EMS stations.

"We wanted them to do it because maybe they would notice something we missed," Nufer said. "We don't want to get something built and say, 'Oh, we should have thought of that.'"