As part of a move to better coordinate its air medical services, Carilion Clinic is building hangars and other facilities for emergency helicopters based at Lexington and Smith Mountain Lake.
Construction will begin later this month on a hangar, crew quarters and offices on a half-acre site behind Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington, the Roanoke-based health care system announced Monday.
The new complex, which will cost more than $750,000, will be the permanent location for Carilion’s Life-Guard 12 helicopter.
Work on a similar facility in the Westlake area of Franklin County is already under way. Life-Guard 10 is based at the Westlake location, which is next to an urgent care center.
A third Carilion helicopter, Life-Guard 11, will remain at its current location at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, which already has a hangar.
With helicopter bases located strategically across Southwest Virginia, Carilion says it will be better positioned to quickly transport patients from rural areas to the Level I trauma center at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Each of the three helicopters is used between one and three times a day on average, said Carilion spokeswoman Allie Buth.
Carilion currently contracts with Med-Trans Corp. of Dallas to run the program.
The Life-Guard 12 helicopter in Lexington was added to Carilion’s fleet last year. Currently, crew quarters and offices occupy rented space at a nearby shopping center.
Having the crew quarters at the same location as the helipad at Stonewall Jackson Hospital will improve response times, Carilion officials said in a news release.
And with hangars at all three of its locations, the helicopters will no longer have to go to Roanoke for routine maintenance.
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