Leaders from South Sound 911 and members of the Pierce County Council will provide briefings about the agency’s plan to build a new public safety communications center at upcoming public meetings around the county. Voters in Pierce County authorized the project in November 2011 as part of a 0.1 percent sales tax increase to fund the consolidation of six disparate 911 centers and create a regional emergency communications radio network. The intent of both actions was to improve the delivery of emergency services.
The public meetings are being held in each of the County Council districts, where South Sound 911 Executive Director Andrew Neiditz will speak about the project and provide a general agency:
- Wednesday, April 29th, 6 p.m., Puyallup Public Library South Meeting Room, 324 S. Meridian, Puyallup, in the 2nd District represented by Councilmember Joyce McDonald
- Monday, May 4th, 6 p.m. at the North End Neighborhood Council board meeting; University of Puget Sound; Thompson Hall, Room 193; 1565 N. Union Ave.; Tacoma; in the 7th District represented by Councilmember Derek Young
- Tuesday, May 5th, 7 p.m. at the Summit Waller Community Association annual meeting, Mid-County Community Center, 10205 44th Ave. E; Tacoma; in the 5th District represented by Councilmember Rick Talbert
- Monday, May 11th, 7 p.m., Bonney Lake Public Safety Building training room, 18421 Veterans Memorial Dr. E, Bonney Lake, in the 1st District represented by Councilmember Dan Roach
- Wednesday, May 13th, 6 p.m., Fircrest City Hall, 302 Regents Blvd., Fircrest, in the 4th District represented by Councilmember Connie Ladenburg
- Thursday, May 14th, 6 p.m., Graham Fire & Rescue Station 94, 23014 70th Ave. E, Graham, in the 3rd District represented by Jim McCune
- Tuesday, May 19th, 5:30 p.m., Gig Harbor Civic Center, Community Room, 3510 Grandview St., Gig Harbor, in the 7th District represented by Councilmember Young
- Wednesday, May 20th, 7 p.m. at the West End Neighborhood Council meeting, Tacoma Fire Department Station #16, 7271 6th Ave., Tacoma, in the District represented by Councilmember Young
- Tuesday, May 26th, 6:30 p.m., STAR Center, Voyage Studio, 3873 S. 66th St., Tacoma, in the 4th District represented by Councilmember Ladenburg
- Wednesday, June 3rd, 12 p.m., at the Clover Park Rotary meeting, Carr’s Restaurant & Catering, 11006 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood, in the 6th District represented by Councilmember Doug Richardson
“There is a lot of interest from the community about the public safety communications center and the mandate of the November 2011 election,” Neiditz said. “If we can help remind everyone of how we got to this point and dispel some myths and confusion about the project, I’m confident we will get to the place where we need to be, so that we can efficiently handle the emergency communication needs of the public and first responders in our region.”
The public safety communications center will house operations from six consolidated and collocated 911 centers, as well as administrative and public services, or a total of 250 employees, most of whom work various shifts to provide 24-hour emergency services, seven days a week.
The center’s preferred site – 2119 Mildred St. W. in Fircrest – was selected after several months of study and discussion with South Sound 911’s governing boards. A preliminary agreement was executed in January with the intent to lock in the property while it was evaluated for its suitability and for legal review. The 9-acre parcel is approximately 3 acres larger than is needed; however, South Sound 911 is working with the City of Fircrest to possibly develop the excess acreage into retail or other commercial space.
An alternate site was also identified at 6700 S. Adams St., but a purchase and sale agreement has not yet been finalized.
The public safety communications center will be a “hybrid campus” comprised of two buildings and parking for employees and visitors. One building, approximately 55,000 sq. ft. in size, will house 911 and dispatch operations and a municipal emergency operations center (EOC). It will be constructed to meet the National Fire Protection Association, National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards for public safety communications centers.
The second building, approximately 25,000 sq. ft. in size, will house South Sound 911’s administrative offices and Information Services department, which offers a public counter for services such as fingerprinting and the processing of concealed pistol license applications. The administrative building will be constructed to meet general office and commercial building standards.
South Sound 911 selected a development team led by Trammel Crow Company of Seattle from a competitive bid process. Together, in partnership with the non-profit National Development Council (NDC), the new public safety communications center will be constructed using a “63-20” project delivery and financing model. This model is a public-private partnership that offers an expedited design and construction process with a guaranteed maximum cost.
The project is estimated to cost $62 million and is expected to be completed in 2017.
For more than two years, the agency has been working on projects and processes in support of the consolidation and collocation effort.