Dayton hospital may add helipad |

Dayton hospital may add helipad

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

DAYTON – Health-care services here will move at a faster pace if the proposed Carson-Tahoe Dayton Hospital project includes a heliport for Care Flight evacuations.

Hospital officials and a Care Flight representative addressed about a half-dozen local residents at the first of two planned community meetings Wednesday at the Dayton Professional Building.

Oscar Sanders, project architect, assured residents that noise and dust will not be a problem for them when the helipad is in place.

“The helicopters will line up on (Highway) 50 unless winds force them to do otherwise,” he said.

The helipad will be located about 100 feet from homes just north of the hospital property, said Sanders, adding that it would be constructed of concrete and blacktop, with adequate landscaping done to prevent dust blowing about.

Project administrator Cory Allen said the Care Flight helicopters would arrive and leave too quickly to be a great noise problem, and that flights would not be a common occurrence.

During a demonstration of the landing and takeoff of one of the three Care Flight helicopters, it took between one-and-a-half to two minutes for the sound to dissipate.

The helipad will not be operational until the first phase of the project is completed, estimated to be in late 2006 or early 2007, Allen said. The helicopters would always arrive and depart above the hospital, not above homes, she added.

Deane Lemire, aviation service manager for Care Fligh , said the heliport would be an important convenience for the helicopters and they would work to mitigate any nuisance.

“We’re not doing tours, we do critical-care transport,” he said. “We will take full advantage of this busy highway to minimize noise.”

Lemire said Care Flight operates three helicopters, one based in Reno, one in Gardnerville and one in Truckee. The Reno and Gardnerville helicopters are likely to respond to emergencies in Dayton, he said.

Lemire emphasized that whether or not the heliport is built, Care Flight would still serve the Dayton area.

“We’re still going to come here to transport patients,” he said. “Without the helipad we have to get the fire department and sheriff to block of the streets, we land and pick up the patient and leave.”

Lemire said with the helipad, Care Flight won’t have to take up other resources, such as police and fire services.

The new hospital plans call for taking half of the current Dayton Professional Building’s parking lot for the first phase of the hospital, containing an emergency room, radiology department, kitchen and support facilities and space for six beds. There will be an emergency entrance near the heliport and the road leading into the parking lot will be moved back toward the property’s northern edge.

The Phase 2 expansion will have a 30-bed facility with expanded radiology capabilities and two medical office buildings. The hospital is negotiating to purchase an additional 5-acre plot next door.

Lori Ludden, whose home will be very near the proposed helipad, said she has not yet formed her opinion on the matter.

“I’m just processing all the information, because I’m so close,” she said. “I’m going to be talking to my husband about it.”

Ed Gaffney, who lives past the fire station just east of the hospital property, was supportive.

“I think it’s great we’re going to have a hospital with a 24-hour emergency,” he said. “I have no problem with the helipad.”

n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.