We purchased the Bennett Memorial Building in February 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Due to the impact of the pandemic, all of our plans for renovations were delayed. Despite those delays, we still managed to make progress throughout 2020!
This building was originally constructed in 1921 and the back garage section was added on in 1924.
February 2020 – A new concrete pad for the garage entrance was installed, with proper water drainage, by Didas Mason Contractors of Wayland, NY.
June 2020 – After much delay due to COVID-19, the garage door was replaced with an automatic opener, the electric was upgraded to support charging the ambulances and we moved our operations into the building.
Sept 2020 – 55″ display received through a grant from the Polisseni Foundation (as well as CPR mannequins and other trainign equipment) being used for the 1st EMT class hosted in our building. (Socially distanced, of course!)
October 2020 – Our sign was installed on the front pole. The sign was designed and installed by Sign Blazer from Lakeville, NY.
Also in October 2020, the Heating system for the garage was installed, ensuring our ambulances maintain a warm temperature and are ready for calls. This was installed by Comstock HVAC out of Naples, NY.
December 2020 – The drop ceiling and insulation in the garage is complete and the garage lighting upgrade is also completed. The drop ceiling and lighting was installed through the efforts of numerous members and all supplies were purchased from Rogers & Tenbrook and Dansville Electric Supply.
February 2021 – The emergency exits on the North and South wall and the firewall between the garage and the rest of the building are being installed by Didas Mason Contractors. Part of this project was funded by a $5,000 grant from the J. M. McDonald Foundation.
This was required by building code had to be completed before we can continue with further renovations.
Winter 2021 – HVAC upgrades are installed by Pear Tree Mechanical, out of Atlanta, NY. Two new heat exchanges and all new ductwork installed to distribute heat from the boiler system throughout the building.
February 2022 – The sleeping quarters and North Wall are framed out by Ray Sellers. All new electric is installed Al Kline. After the Electrical Inspection and Code Inspection was completed, the walls were fully insulated and closed up.
April 2022 – The main Office space is nearing completion. This room will be used by both the Board of Directors and Officers to manage our agency. The plan calls for 4 desks and computers that will be shared among the leadership. Due to the fact that we extensively use Google Workspace, dedicated computers are not really necessary.
All new lighting will be LED and most older lighting is being retrofitted to LED. It’s not just good to save money, it is also helping the environment by reducing our electrical demand.
June 2022 – The Decontamination rooms are complete. One room is for laundry and the other is a shower. This is located right next to the garage so that if our volunteers are on a call that they need to clean up after, nothing will be tracked into the rest of the building.
This room and components inside were supported by grants from the HON Foundation and the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes. The Community foundation grant came through early during COVID and covered PPE equipment and the washer/dryer. That was used extensively during the pandemic before the room was completed.
September 2022 – The crew quarters are completed. These rooms are placed in a section of the building with windows designed for emergency egress as well as quick access to exterior exit doors, in compliance with building codes.
October 2022 – Our main operations office is complete and placed into service. Having this office operational makes our administrative responsibilities much easier to process.
April 2023 – The lighting and electrical work for the main crew lounge area has been completed. This includes a unified Smoke Detector system. Other safety features are being installed and the back bathroom is being remodeled into an ADA compliant unisex bathroom.
SWEMS has taken great pains to minimize the cost of all construction while also ensuring all work is done by local contractors and as many components as possible are sourced through local vendors. Our building committee has requested multiple bids for each project and selected the best option based on a combination of price, guarantee and proven experience.
We continuously look for ways to ensure that the rollout of the building has a minimal impact on our operations and since we do not receive any money from property taxes, our building project and all operations are funded through donations, grants, and service revenue only. We would like to thank the many residents who have generously donated to support the improvements this building will bring to our service and our community!