Pope County and Arkansas Tech University have finalized a land lease agreement that will lead to the construction of a new central station for Pope County Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
The agreement was signed by Pope County Judge Ben Cross and ATU President Dr. Robin E. Bowen following previous approval by the Pope County Quorum Court and the ATU Board of Trustees.
As a result, ATU will lease 4.29 acres of ATU property adjacent to the Russellville Fire Department station on North Arkansas Avenue to Pope County. The new central station will replace a facility on Weir Road that has served Pope County for more than four decades.
Cross said the new Pope County EMS headquarters is anticipated to be constructed with American Rescue Plan funds and designed with specific capabilities to help mitigate future pandemic response.
“This unique partnership between ATU and Pope County is a win for everyone involved, as it will position Arkansas Tech as the only university in Arkansas that will have public safety, fire and EMS all located on campus,” said Cross. “The location will facilitate the expansion of internships within the (ATU) emergency management and nursing programs, and it will provide a faster response to medical needs which may arise on campus. What began as a conversation over coffee with Dr. Bowen three years ago developed into a concept, which progressed to an actual design and culminated with approval from the ATU Board of Trustees. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Bowen, her staff and the ATU Board of Trustees for their overwhelming support of this collaborative endeavor.”
Pope County EMS began operation in 1967 and has been in continuous operation ever since. It employs approximately 40 individuals stationed in five locations throughout the county. In 2021, Pope County EMS responded to 9,194 calls countywide.