Cassia Regional Medical Center held the final inspection and ribbon cutting ceremony for their new helipad on December 28th, 2011. The day marked the culmination of the project which was started in the Spring of 2011. The hospital identified the need to replace their helipad a few yearsÂ ago, and the funding was included in their 2011 budget.
The need for a new helipad at Cassia Regional was two-fold. First, the old helipad was actually in the driveway of the Emergency Department (ED). With increasing traffic, there was more and more disruption to the traffic flow to and from the ED, and for employees, physicians, and visitors. Second, the size of the old helipad was inadequate, primarily because it was too narrow, and the path to the ED was rough asphalt. It had been grandfathered in, but was not up to new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements.
The project first involved hiring Great Basin Engineering out of Salt Lake City who subsequently worked with the FAA to identify the requirements for a new helipad. This process also involved gathering input from pilots and flight crews from LifeFlight and Intermountain Healthcare, and the staff from Cassia Regional Medical Centerâ€™s Emergency Department ambulance services. Starr Corporation out of Twin Falls, Idaho, was hired as the contractor for the project. Actual construction began in October and was completed by the end of December. During construction, CRMC used the Burley airport for their LifeFlight landings.
The total cost was approximately $200,000, which turned out to be half of some original estimates. The amount seems high considering it is a concrete pad, but a helipad involves more than just a slab of concrete. In addition to the planning and preparation costs, the amount included two rows of lighting on the landing pad, a new smooth sidewalk from the ED to the helipad, fencing around the helipad, removal of trees, and lowering of a light pole due to FAA height restrictions.
Cassia Regionalâ€™s new helipad will provide safer takeoffs and landings for LifeFlight. In 2011, Cassia Regional recorded 113 LifeFlight landings on their helipad.
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