With the ceremonial turning of the dirt by the Anson County Board of Commissioners, construction is set to begin on the county’s new emergency services center on Country Club Road in Wadesboro.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday afternoon at the construction site. County Manager Lawrence Gatewood said if all goes according to plan, a grand opening for the new center will be held in February 2014.
After Rev. Benny Clodfelter of First United Methodist Church in Wadesboro gave an invocation, County Commission Chair Anna Baucom told the crowd gathered that the new emergency services center is part of Anson County “investing in ourselves.”
“We are building something for the people of Anson County,” she said.
Wadesboro Mayor Bill Thacker thanked the county for its investment. “Anson County, you can be proud of what we’re here for today, for what you’re doing for the health and safety of our community.”
Sheriff Tommy Allen reported that the new emergency services center will hopefully bring new jobs to the community as well, before he introduced Jeff Rodgers, chairman of the Anson County Chamber of Commerce. Rodgers praised the “forward-thinking leadership” of Anson’s local government, pointing not only to the new emergency services center, but also the recent renovations to the 100-year-old courthouse and Belk building in uptown Wadesboro. “These are exciting times to be in Anson County,” he said.
Allen said that work on the emergency services center has been ongoing for almost two years. Allen is part of the planning committee that has had input on everything from the design of the building to what services should be housed in the new building. The planning committee consisted of: Allen, county senior accounting officer Cathy Baxter, emergency services director/fire marshal Rodney Diggs, building inspector Keith Gaskins, Gatewood, IT director Randy Gulledge, 911 director Holly Mullis, EMS director Ryan Teal, Jason Hopkins and Dan Mace with Moseley Architects, and Chris Malinowski with Messer Construction Co.
“This is more than putting up four walls,” Allen said.
Mace also spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. “A project like this is kind of in the background until you need these services the most,” he said. “This facility will be built to withstand any kind of natural disaster. In times of disaster, the 911 center is the heartbeat of the community.”
The 24,000-square-foot emergency services center will house Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the Fire Marshal/Emergency Operations Director and 911 Call Center.
“I hope the county gets many years of service and protection from this endeavor,” Mace said.
Richard Taylor, executive director of the state’s 911 board, said the new facility will be a benchmark for the rest of the state to follow. “Don’t let the four walls of this building stop you from moving forward,” he said. “Continue to move forward, and help make this a state and regional 911 network.”
“Welcome to our field of dreams,” Gatewood said after the commissioners turned the dirt to start the project. “When we started this project 28 months ago, we wanted it to be affordable and to meet our needs for years to come. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished here.”
Gatewood promised that the building will be well constructed and will serve the needs of the Anson County community for many years to come.
Construction was scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Monday.