Construction on the Washington County Communications building will commence soon as a groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday.
On Wednesday, July 10, county officials and other guests gathered for the official ceremony for the new building which will be built between the Washington County Sheriff’s office and the Washington County Jail. The new masonry building will meet FEMA standards for storm hardening and has been designed with several technology upgrades in mind. Fiber-optic lines will be rerouted to be brought into the building with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) as backup power to ensure dispatchers never lose power or contact.
Special cooling has been included in the design plans to best accommodate the equipment that may require specific temperatures to perform at its best. A fire protection system has been designed specifically for the technology as well, to only put out the fire and not damage other materials.
Richard Young, a county supervisor for Washington County, said to finally see the project breaking ground was an important moment for Washington County.
“It’s been coming for a long time. There’s been many of us that have worked on this project for a lot of years and trying to get this project going and we finally got it,” he said. “It should be something the citizens of Washington County should be very proud of.”
Ryan Miller, mayor of the City of Wellman, said the project is designed to help all members of the county and will be a benefit to all citizens.
“A lot of people put in a lot of hard work,” he said. “Not only the building here, but the new radio equipment will really help everybody in the county.”
Dispatch Supervisor for Washington County, Cara Sorrells, said the new building has been a long time coming and talk of it first began back in 2006. The communications board has gone through several plans in that time, she said, and is glad to see it finally coming to fruition.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”
One thing Sorrells is most looking forward to is the enhanced radio system. She said the current system allows for 39 percent in-building coverage, but they will be upgrading to 95 percent with the new system.
“Now when they’re in your house, you’re having a heart attack, they need more manpower, they need another ambulance, they can call and they’re going to get through to dispatch, 95 percent of the time,” she said.
The old communications building is in rough shape, she said, and having a new building to house the new equipment will be important for the sustainability of the future. Construction is expected to take one year.