The Clark Regional Foundation for the Promotion of Health is giving the Clark County Fiscal Court three acres to build a new Emergency Operations Center.
The property is located behind the old hospital building between Maryland Avenue and McCann Drive.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will fund the $3.6 million project, Gary Epperson, director of the Winchester-Clark County Emergency Management Office, and Judge-Executive Henry Branham announced during Wednesday’s Fiscal Court meeting.
The new 6,400-square-foot, single-story building will house the Emergency Management Office and the Chemical Stockpiles Emergency Preparedness Program, which Epperson also directs. The facility will also house the 911 dispatch center. All three are currently located in the Winchester Police Department.
The new building will also have a 120-foot communications tower built next to it, Epperson said.
Branham said he and Epperson thought the county would not receive the FEMA money until 2014.
“The judge and I have talked about this for years and we actually got scooted up a couple years because the money got dropped down a lot quicker than we anticipated,” Epperson said.
The facility will be built in accordance with FEMA standards, Epperson said, and it will be able to survive a direct hit by a tornado. He called it “state-of-the-art,” and said it will be equipped with six dispatcher consoles instead of the current four.
“And we are cramped in the police department. We moved from the front of the building to that other room, and we're still cramped,” he said.
Epperson said there has already been an environmental, historical, archeological and endangered species assessment of the property, and it fits Winchester-Clark County Planning and Zoning requirements. He said Palmer Engineering would conduct a more in-depth assessment later in accordance with the FEMA specifications.
The only requirement for the county to receive the FEMA money was “that the Fiscal Court needed to own the land that the facility was built on,” Branham said.
“They (The Clark Regional Foundation) have agreed that this center fits the scope of their vision for this community — to promote the health and wellness of the community,” Branham said.
The Clark County Attorney's Office is working to prepare the deed, he said. Construction, which Branham said could begin in the next year, is expected to take between 12 and 16 months.
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