Victoria County plans to move forward with a project to improve the county’s emergency operations center, which was hit with flooding and debris during Hurricane Harvey.
Victoria County commissioners Monday agreed to begin the project that will add an enclosure over the stairs to protect the entrance from outdoor elements.
After Harvey struck, three projects were identified for the emergency operations center at 205 N. Bridge St., Suite 101, emergency management coordinator Rick McBrayer said Monday. Projects include improvements to the flood barriers and shutter system. The stairwell enclosure project will be the last one done.
During Harvey, the outdoor stairs that provided an entrance to the center were open, which made it challenging for emergency personnel and officials to enter and leave the building.
According to a previous description of the project, “water entered (the) building through the exterior basement entry” during Hurricane Harvey, causing a flooding risk in the basement, where the emergency operations center is located, and “limited use” of the building’s emergency exit on the basement level.
The project was included in the plans for the emergency operations center when it was built almost 10 years ago, McBrayer said, but it was removed because of financial constraints at the time.
“Sure enough, what we saw during Hurricane Harvey was that the drain system was overwhelmed,” he said.
The county hired the engineering firm PGAL in November to design the project, which commissioners reviewed Monday, McBrayer said.
The project is estimated to cost $172,000, McBrayer said. The cost will be covered through funding directly from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act as well as $20,000 left over from the flood barriers and shutter system project, he said.
The project was previously identified as one of the county’s potential capital projects that can be funded with about $787,000 of recoverable depreciation. With the separate funding sources, however, the project will not be funded with those dollars.
Kelly Hubert, the county’s facilities manager, will begin the next steps in the project, which will include putting out a request for bid proposals.
Also Monday, commissioners approved a request from the Heritage Homeschool 4-H Club photography class that will allow the class to use the Victoria County Fire Marshal’s Office training room as classroom space.
Victoria County Fire Marshal Richard Castillo said the space is used for the office’s academy class and different training sessions, but it will be easy to accommodate the request. The class is on Monday afternoons and will take place in the Victoria County Fire Marshal’s Office through May 15.