Riley County Emergency Medical Services is seeking an architect to develop a new headquarters building.

The Riley County Commission on Thursday approved a request for qualifications seeking submissions from firms to show their qualifications to select a site and design the building.

The selected firm would conduct a study of current and future space needs and make recommendations of using the existing EMS site or an off-site option.

Companies will have to demonstrate that they have completed similar projects in the past and have the ability to do the work for the new EMS headquarters.

“You want someone that’s done this before,” Ellerman said.

Submitting firms will meet with county staff to discuss the EMS department’s needs.

County officials want the new headquarters to include more ambulance and equipment bays, updated sleeping areas for on-call staff and more offices and training rooms.

The county also would want the new building to house the Emergency Management/Riley County Fire District No. 1, a conference/training room, offices, an Emergency Operations Center and a possible dispatch center.

The department’s current headquarters at 2011 Claflin Road was built in 1980, and Riley County Public Works Director John Ellerman said it no longer meets the staff’s needs.

“They’re very limited on their storage and the sleeping arrangements are pretty antiquated,” Ellerman said.

The current headquarters houses seven ambulances, four support vehicles and a disaster trailer, but Riley County EMS Director David Adams said he would like for the new space to house up to 10 ambulances with room for other equipment as well to be stored in the bays.

“We’re building for the future,” Adams said.

He said in the current building, equipment is crammed inside or stored outdoors.

With the area’s population projected to increase in the coming years, Riley County Clerk Rich Vargo said a larger space will be necessary to compensate for that growth.

“You’ve got to have room for the next 30, 40 years,” Vargo said.

In other business, the commission discussed the creation of a rural economic development advisory board.

Riley County Planning Director Amanda Smeller presented a resolution outlining who could sit on the proposed board. Following suggestions from commissioners, the advisory board would have nine members who should be residents or employees of Riley County.

At least one member would be a resident of a town other than Manhattan, and the director of Riley County Extension — currently Gary Fike — will sit on the board and appoint one other member from Extension staff.

A final resolution regarding the creation of the board will be before the commission at an upcoming meeting.