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South County EMS

Western Mass. Library System in talks with buyer for Whately building

Regional EMS had been looking at it to house new service

WHATELY — The Western Massachusetts Regional Library System building won’t become the home of the South County Emergency Medical Center after all.

The three towns that recently formed the paramedic service weren’t ready to make an offer, and in the meanwhile the library system reached a buy-sell agreement with someone else, Whately Town Administrator Lynn Sibley said.

“Our concentration right now is to get the ambulance service up and running and hire an ambulance director,” Sibley said.

After that, Sibley said, Deerfield, Whately and Sunderland will be looking for another location.

The short-term plan is to base one ambulance out of the South Deerfield fire station and a backup ambulance at the Sunderland Public Safety Complex. The split location is meant to be temporary. The South Deerfield Fire District Prudential Committee is giving the ambulance service three years before it has to find its own space.

This summer, the towns had expressed interest in locating the EMS service and South County Senior Center in the library building inside the Whately Industrial Park.

For almost two years, the board of the state library system had tried to lease the building. In June, the library board voted to explore the sale of the property.

Library Executive Board member Gregory Pronevitz said the library system is negotiating an agreement right now with another buyer for the 11,000-square-foot building.

“There are still contingencies to go through. It’s not a done deal,” Pronevitz said.

Pronevitz declined to give the selling price and to identify the buyer, citing contract talks. He did say the potential buyer is a local business owner. The library system hopes to close on the deal by the end of January, Pronevitz said.

Meanwhile, the library system is looking to rent a space along Interstate 91 or between Route 2 and Interstate 90 to operate more efficiently and save costs.

“We will remain there for some time as we make a decision as to where our long-term location in eestern Mass. will be. We’re committed to having an office in the area,” Pronevitz said.

The library has been located in the industrial park since 2006, paying $120,000 per year for building expenses. Seven staff members work in the building, which holds about 60 meetings per year.

“We’re selling it because it’s expensive to keep up,” said Pronevitz. “It’s expensive to spend that much money each year. We think we can operate more efficiently in rented space.”

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