Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 has made several small steps in the build-out of its new facility, even as its struggles with Cypress Creek EMS linger.

During their Feb. 25 regular meeting, district commissioners heard from Executive Director Doug Hooten, who gave updates on employee interviews, health care, vehicle purchases and other administrative and logistical changes for the district.

In a Feb. 10 interview with Community Impact Newspaper, Hooten said the district plans to build out its new facility, located at 18334 Stuebner Airline Road, Spring, in two phases.

“So the first phase is ... that public area, the billing area, the communications area upstairs and the deployment and fleet center. So that should start in March and be completed by the middle of August,” Hooten said. “That Phase 1 will allow us, then, to operate. And so operations are planned to go live Sept. 1.”

Phase 2 will include more administrative, classroom and conference rooms for the EMS district. Hooten said he could not give a cost for the entire project, but during the meeting, district officials said they hope to bring back a prospective cost March 18.

The district also reviewed its budget for 2021-22 on Feb. 25. Although the exact budget breakdown was not released, Commissioner Kevin Brost said the district plans to budget “about $29 million to put 28 ambulances on the street.”

Issues with the district’s current EMS provider, Cypress Creek EMS, are still ongoing. At the meeting, commissioners approved not paying CCEMS’ monthly invoice “unless and until the CCEMS budget is accepted by this board.” The motion also stipulated that CCEMS must prove the need in consideration of the provider’s other revenue sources.

“Our intention is to have everything completed by the next meeting so they can approve the budget for operational expenses in January and our additional expenses incurred in the winter storm event,” CCEMS CEO Wren Nealy said in an email statement.