Wilson Emergency Management Agency officials broke ground Friday on the agency's new Station 9 at Hunters Point Pike and Highway 231 N.
WEMA Director John Jewell is excited about the station, one of two new facilities planned for the county. A third new station is also in the preliminary stages.
"One for sure new stations is Station 9. Another is planned for Maddox-Simpson Parkway, across from the county school's bus garage," he said. "The one on Maddox-Simpson will improve service for medical calls. The third new station, Station 10, is to be build just south of Norene," Jewell said.
He said the new stations would be beneficial to the whole county, especially rural areas.
"They will allow for more rapid response times north and south of Lebanon," Jewell said
Jewell said medical response responsibilities are a unified service coming out of all WEMA stations. He also said the building costs of the new stations were "tacked on" to the $3 million bond issue to build a new Watertown High School, and three other county schools undergoing renovations.
"The commission felt that, with the money allocated, we could plan for all three. The plans for the first two are complete," Jewell said.
With new stations come the need for new personnel to man them.
"We could use three new people. We'll be using a captain as a shift person at Station 9," Jewell said, adding another issue would whether the new personnel will be paid or volunteers.
"We didn't push hard for these new stations, but they are needed," Jewell said.
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto agreed the new stations would make WEMA's coverage more complete all around the county, branching out from Lebanon to a large circumference.
"We're all very excited," he said. "All the commissioners pushed for these new stations."
Hutto singled out commissioners Kenny Reich, Mike Justice and William Glover as those who really pushed for the new stations.
Hutto also said the county is looking for property to build the Norene station.
"If anyone has a couple acres to sell or donate, they should call me at my office," he said.