Ground was broken on Air Evac’s new facility at Baptist Health Corbin Monday morning.
The company is moving its Whitley County location from the Williamsburg –Whitley County Airport to the former Lincoln Memorial University building behind the hospital.
“The Whitley County Airport has been a phenomenal partner the last 14 years,” said Whitney Miller, a spokesperson for Air Evac. “We have enjoyed our time with them, but it has put us a little further distance away from the hospital.”
Miller said the Corbin/Whitley County location is one of six bases Air Evac operates. Other facilities are located in: Manchester, Middlesboro, Harlan, Danville and Campbellsville.
“An aircraft will be stationed there with a full crew 24/7,” Miller said of the new Corbin facility. “This base will cover a 150 mile radius.”
In addition, Miller said the aircraft and would be available to back up at the other locations as needed.
Miller said renovations to the building and construction of the new hanger and helipad are scheduled to begin later this week with the goal of having the new facility open by the end of the year.
Upon completion, the new facility will house a mechanic, aircrew, program director and sales manager.
“All of the original crew that were at the airport are staying,” Miler said noting that is 14 employees.
Air Evac is leasing the space from the hospital. Miller said the lease is for five years, with two automatic renewals for respective five-year periods.
Anthony Powers, Interim President of Baptist Health Corbin, said negotiations for the project began in the spring of 2017.
“We explored different options on campus and decided this was the best,” Powers said adding that currently, it can take up to 15 minutes to get a helicopter.
When the new facility is complete, the helicopter would regularly be stationed on the hospital helipad.
“We are really excited about it,” Powers said.
Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney and Commissioners Ed Tye and Andrew Pennington were among the individuals who shoveled the ceremonial scoops of dirt.
“It is awesome for the community,” Pennington said of the new facility. “Anything they can do to improve response times and serve people better is great.”