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Emergency center plans on aggressive track

By DAVID TEWES
Sept. 28, 2010 at 4:28 a.m.


WHERE WILL IT BE?Victoria's new $1.455 million emergency operation center will be in the 14,000-square-foot basement of the courthouse annex at 205 N. Bridge St.

Planners are on an aggressive schedule they hope will result in Victoria's new, state-of-the-art emergency operation center being completed in six months.

Construction would begin in January and be completed by the start of hurricane season in June.

"We've had a need for an all hazardous facility that will serve us in every type of incident for a long time," said Jeb Lacey, the emergency management coordinator. "We're going to be very excited to have one and to be able serve our first responders all that much better and therefore serve the community."

Joyce Dean, the county's director of Administrative Services, said the commissioners court is scheduled Monday to request proposals from contractors interested in the job.

It would involve converting the 14,000-square-foot basement of the courthouse annex at 205 N. Bridge St. into a brain center capable of handling all types of disasters.

The $1.455 million facility would replace the current emergency operation center at 700 Main Center. The aging 700 Main Center has suffered foundation failure and city officials don't think it could withstand a Category 3 hurricane, which has winds of at least 111 mph.

The new facility would be designed to withstand sustained Category 5 winds of 170 mph.

Dean said the new center will be renovated and equipped using a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a $455,000 grant from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.

Dean said the program is on schedule. "As long as we don't have any unforeseen problems, we think six months will get it done."

Lacey said he's still working on details for an audio-visual system, but the framework for the center is almost finalized.

"It will be built out to be where it can be expanded or contracted based on whatever type of incident the city or county needs to use for recovery," he said.

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