MT. ORAB — University of Cincinnati Health and Mt. Orab came together on Tuesday afternoon for a ceremonial groundbreaking on land that will become a new home for the UC Health Air Care and Mobile Care unit.
Joining Mt. Orab Mayor Bruce Lunsford at the ceremony was UC Health Air Care and Mobile Care director Teri Grau, Chief Nursing Officer Jen Jackson, and Larry and Mark Schumacher, President and Vice-President of Schumacher Dugan Construction.
“We’ve had a lot of groundbreakings in Mt. Orab the last 10 or 15 years and I can truthfully say this is the coldest,” Lunsford joked as the crowd endured some chilly weather. “But this is a good project, it’s going to serve a large area and it’s just unbelievable to get this service here. To have them right here, they’ll be closer, they can serve a wider area, it’s just going to be a huge asset. We’re very happy that they decided to come here.”
Once construction is completed, the building site on West Apple Street behind the Kroger’s and near the intersection of state Routes 68 and 32 will have a helicopter landing pad and a hangar to serve as the home of one of the Air Care and Mobile Care’s helicopters, Air Care 3. The site will also be home to an office, a refueling station, and a mobile trauma unit that will be available in emergencies and when poor weather makes flying unfeasible.
The helicopter - a Eurocopter EC145 - and mobile trauma unit will provide air and ground response service to patients in Brown County and the neighboring counties. A helicopter flight from Mt. Orab to the UC Medical Center in downtown Cincinnati is estimated to take around 14-16 minutes. In addition, every helicopter will have both a physician and a nurse on board.
Once everything is ready, there will be five people working full time on-site in Mt. Orab.
“We realized that the east side of Cincinnati, and really out in Brown County and this community really needed an additional quick-response type of aircraft out here, and UC Air Care and Mobile Care wanted to provide that opportunity,” said Jackson, who said she grew up in Brown County and still has family in Mt. Orab. “We’ve really expanded our program over the last few years. We started out with one aircraft for 12 hours a day to now three aircraft (flying) 24/7.”
UC Health signed a 15-year lease with the Mt. Orab Port Authority for the land, which will reportedly cover the $900,000 construction and development costs, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. The report adds that UC Health will be able to extend the loan for $1 per year.
Schumacher and Dugan Construction are working on their second project with UC Health Air Care and Mobile Care unit. In his opening remarks, Mark Schumaker said that as soon as the weather clears up, they’ll begin construction. Lunsford said he expected the project to take six to seven months to complete, depending on the weather.
“One of the more direct benefits will be locally for the Mt. Orab Fire Department will be, instead of having to call out to air care, we can actually drive them here (to the site) and then they’re gone (to the UC Medical Center),” Lunsford said.