County officials tour new emergency services facility
by Abby Cavenaugh Editor
Several county commissioners and employees got a first look at the new emergency services center on Country Club Road Thursday afternoon.
Will Ralston, onsite manager for Messer Construction, led the tour, which included County Commissioners Dr. Jim Sims, Ross Streater, Vancine Sturdivant, County Clerk Bonnie Huntley, EMS director Ryan Teal and Sheriff Tommy Allen, among others.
Construction started 14 months ago, Ralston said, and remains on budget and on schedule for completion by December. The building is designed in three wings, he explained, with the western-most wing designed to house the emergency vehicles, the western or center area for EMS, and the eastern part of the building slated as the emergency operations center, including 911 dispatch.
“It's a very strong, very sturdy building,” he said. “It's one of the strongest I've ever built.”
Ralston explained that the building is a “strip-and-spot” structure, meaning that there are strip footings running along the building to hold it up, and spot footings to hold it down. “Nothing can happen to this building,” he said.
The tour began in the vehicle bay, which is nearly complete. Ralston said it will look much the same as it does now, once it's finished. Off the vehicle bay is an office area for EMS, which also includes bunk rooms, reporting rooms, laundry space, mud rooms and a large training room.
EMS director Teal said the training room will give the county an opportunity to bring in visitors from other areas for various training exercises. The training room will also house EMS's living, breathing mannequin that is used for training. Next on the tour was the reception area, which features security glass and stained wood cabinetry.
The emergency operations portion of the facility includes offices, storage and the radio room. The 911 dispatch center will also be located in this section, and will hold eight desks, plus all of the equipment the dispatchers need to perform their job duties. “We will be a backup site for another county if we're needed,” Sheriff Allen said. “If their 911 center is destroyed for whatever reason, they can set up here. We'll also be able to back up ourselves.”
The server room is also located in the eastern wing, and is cooled by two special computer room air conditioning units, or CRAC units, Ralston said. The floor in the server room is raised 18 inches above the foundation slab to hold all the wiring.
The new facility also features an emergency operations center, which will be used in case of a disaster. “The goal for this room is to be able to walk in this room, and flip a switch and be fully operational in the event of an emergency,” Teal said. Right now, it would take EMS several hours to set up an emergency operations center.
There will also be a large break room, which includes a fully operational kitchen for employees working 24-hour shifts. “One of the things we heard from our folks is if they had their own kitchen, they could fix their own meals, be healthier and save a little money, too,” Teal said.
There's also a generator with a 2,000-gallon tank, Ralston said, which will keep the facility operating in the event of a power outage.
“This facility will meet our needs for decades to come,” County Manager Lawrence Gatewood said.
Ralston added that there will be a grand opening ceremony in a few months to show off the facility to the general public. Completion is still set for Dec. 1.
Additional photos of the emergency services center can be found on The Anson Record's Facebook page.
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