On Aug. 14, the New Milford Community Ambulance volunteers celebrated a groundbreaking of a new $2.6 million ambulance barn on the southeast corner of the town-owned, former Century Brass mill.

The ambulance barn is scheduled to open next May.

"Hurrah!'' said volunteer Jack Oxton, the chairman of the ambulance building committee, who has worked for some three years to get the project under way.

"Finally,'' declared a smiling Andrew Armstrong, the organization president, as he watched bulldozers clear piles of dirt for where the foundation of the 10,000-square-foot facility will be constructed.

For the last two decades, the ambulance service has operated out of a town-owned garage on the corner of Youngs Field Road and Housatonic Avenue. The garage was formerly the civil defense building.

The cramped building has no showers, no sleeping quarters and only enough space for two of its three ambulances. Training must be done off site at various locations around town.

The new facility will have office space, a 2,000-square-foot training room, showers and rest rooms, sleeping quarters, a meeting space and enough room to park six vehicles.

As a growing organization of some 60 active volunteers answering over 1,600 emergency calls a year, the ambulance service needs a space that meets state and federal health, safety and fire codes, said Sue DuBois, a volunteer of 10 years.

Mayor Pat Murphy took part in the groundbreaking. She said she is pleased the town rallied to support the project.