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County officials approve new 911 center

Friday, May 11, 2007

(Photo)
A faulty string could only temporarily delay the cheers as DePauw unveiled the new prize in the Lilly Center Gymnasium. When DePauw's co-Female Athlete of the Year Liz Bondi finally got her string to pull, the 2007 Division III Women's Basketball National Champions Banner was unveiled. "We're honored to be the first team to drop the banner," Coach Kris Huffman (at left) said. She also said her program's success is a testament to the power of big dreams. Honored at Thursday's ceremony were Men's Athlete of the Year Evan Webeler of men's tennis, and co-Female Athletes of the Year Bondi, for her success in both basketball and tennis, and golfer Sarah Gates. Gates could not be in attendance as the women's golf team is competing at the NCAA Division III National Championships. Gates was ninth after Thursday's third round, and DePauw was in second as a team.
Five years of planning finally paid off Thursday night as Putnam County officials approved the construction and funding for a new Emergency Operations Center and 911 facility.

Putnam County 911 Director Dave Costin clapped his hands when members of the Putnam County Council voted unanimously to approve just more than $2.6 million to construct the facility and fill it with equipment.

"I feel good. I think the community will be better served by what we're doing," Costin said after the meeting. "I believe it will save lives."

Prior to the council voting on the funding, the Putnam County Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve the construction of the facility which will be on county-owned property behind the Putnam County Highway Department.

The council and commissioners were presented with a blueprint, of sorts, depicting what the layout of the new facility will be. The facility will include a dispatch room, training room, radio and equipment room, as well as offices for the E911 director and logistics office, along with meeting space and break rooms for employees.

According to information supplied by Costin to the council and commissioners, the building will be able to withstand the winds of an F5 tornado and will be secured against unauthorized entry.

The facility will also double as a training site for the Putnam County public safety community.

Included in the total cost is the removal of various pieces of communications equipment that are currently housed on top of the Putnam County Courthouse. That equipment will have to be moved not only for the new EOC facility, but because the courthouse roof is scheduled to be replaced later this year.

Putnam County EMA Director Kim Hyten said the roof repairs could begin in October or November.

The new facility, according to Hyten and Costin, will allow the latest upgrades in radio communications, specifically the 800 megahertz system which allows all police, fire and medical agencies to communicate on the same frequency. Costin said the equipment in the new facility will meet the FCC's radio requirements for the next 15 years.

The entire facility, Costin said, is projected to suit Putnam County's needs for the next 50 years.

The engineer's estimate for the construction of the building is $1,186,080. The overall total, including construction and equipment, is $2,674,917.

County officials approved using the money generated by the county's Hazardous Waste Fund, which stands at more than $4 million, to pay for the project.

The cost of the project will be financed over a 10-year period, at a rate of about $336,000 per year, Hyten explained, which includes interest.

"I think it's really needed and I think you're gonna have a good facility when it's done," Councilman Jay Fogle said.

Councilman Don Walton added, "I'm in favor of getting this on the road."

Costin said after the meeting that he hopes to break ground on the foundation of the facility in June. Once the facility is completed, he said it will take about four to five months to move in and get all the equipment set up.

He said the new facility could be up and running by April or May of 2008.



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