The Johnson County Ambulance District's new headquarters was officially opened Thursday with an open house.

EMS Chief Shane Lockard said the project took less than 10 months to complete from ground-breaking to ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new 16,500-square-foot facility that includes a large drive-through, five-bay ambulance garage, administration offices and training center, was mostly completed by Jan. 30, Lockard said.

There was a definite need for a new facility, but the old facility on Highway 13 south of Warrensburg is still in operation as a satellite location for southern Johnson County.

Expansion of the training center was the primary motivating force behind the new project, Lockard explained, adding that there are 50 parking spaces available at the new location at 500 East Young.

Rothwell Construction, Blue Springs, was the general contractor for the new building.

Acquiring the land was facilitated by Elvin Maloney's Real Estate agency, Lockard noted.

“We're going to keep three ambulances here, two of them staffed (one is back-up), but then we also have our supervisor vehicle, and it's on duty 24 hours, we have our disaster response trailer and our off-road response vehicle,” Lockard said, adding that another facility is now being used for fleet maintenance.

JCAD currently provides EMT (BLS) training, but future plans call for paramedic training (ALS) as well, Lockard said. “That's a big step, but there is no paramedic training available between Kansas City and Columbia, so our people are driving a long way to further their education to be a paramedic, and we feel like we have a very good opportunity to geographically fill the gap.”

JCAD currently has 59 employees, about 38 of them full time. Per day, there are four EMS workers and one supervisor at the new location. That doesn't count the number of students who come and go on a daily basis.

Chief Lockard will celebrate 25 years in the business this summer.

JCAD is governed by a six-member board of directors -- Dr. Ray Patrick, Violet Corbett, Mary Kidd, Dr. Alice Greife, Jaunita Moore and Mike Wakeman.