Big unveil planned for new EOC

Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Putnam County 911 Director Dave Costin tries out some of the equipment at the new high-tech Emergency Operations Center that is nearing completion.

Most weekends, Putnam County 911 Director Dave Costin and Putnam County Planner Kim Hyten can be found adding the finishing touches to the county's new high-tech Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

"We're pretty much on track with finalizing construction of the building," Costin said in regard to the new $2.8 million center.

The project is designed for multiple uses. It includes a training room with five 74-inch flat screen televisions, a smart board, projection capabilities, computer ports and a projection screen.

It will also house the county's 911 center and includes a new communications tower built to withstand an F3 tornado with 140 mile per hour winds.

"The tower is twice the strength of the old one. The entire center has been designed to grow with the county and should fit the needs of the area for the next 50 years," said Hyten.

The center is very nearly finished. Software is being installed and personnel training and a cutover of services from the courthouse facility to the new center will follow.

"This month is software month," Costin told the Banner Graphic. "With the building work complete, we are concentrating on installing all the software. The hardware is all in place. Once the software is installed, we will start training staff."

Both Costin and Hyten are volunteering extra time and equipment to keep costs in line with the budget.

"We had to spend our contingency funds running our water and sewer lines to those of DePauw's near the Nature Park," said Hyten. "Our original plan was to run them to Manhattan Road, but the property owners of Oxford Automotive claimed that running the lines through their property would lower the value of the land."

He added, "DePauw was kind enough to allow us to tap into their lines, but we have to add a pump, move things uphill and go about a quarter of mile further. It's costing us about $80,000 and that was all the money we had in our contingency fund."

The new pump and lines will also service the county's highway facility located next door to the new 911 Center.

"Their water and sewer equipment has reached its life expectancy, so they are able to tap into the line with us. Using this line will help save the Highway Department money too," said Costin.

Monies for the EOC project come from Hazardous Waste Funds. Putnam County has one of only two hazardous waste sites in Indiana. It is located on S.R. 236 in Russell Township.

For every ton of waste deposited in the site, the state gets 75 percent of the $11.50 per ton fee. Putnam County gets the other 25 percent ($1.50).

It is these funds that are being used to finance the new center.

"The county received $1.2 million one year and averages about $1 million a year generally," said Costin.

"It's important that people realize this money is designated for this project because we had the law changed. It is not property tax or any other fees paid by residents that are used for this new facility," said Hyten.

Hyten and Costin went to Senator Connie Lawson several years ago with the blessing of the county commissioners, requesting a change in the law to allow Putnam County to use funds from the State's Hazardous Waste Fund to finance the center.

The two testified in front of both the Indiana Senate and Congress relaying the reasons for building the 911 center which is years ahead of its counterparts, and for using the money from the hazardous waste fund to finance it.

The monies from this fund cannot legally be used for any other projects such as roads, property taxes or other issues. This means Putnam County residents are not paying for the facility. Companies dumping their hazardous waste at the site, which is very tightly controlled, are paying it for.

In addition to housing the county's 911 center, the new facility will house the command center for emergencies like tornadoes, flooding or other disasters. It will be used for all types of emergency training and it has a generator that will keep the 911 Center and the County Highway Department up and running in a disaster.

"Right now it costs us at least $1,000 in maintenance just because we can't keep our servers at an even temperature or control all the dust where they are in the courthouse. This center will take Putnam County forward for the next 50 years, " added Costin.

An open house is planned once the center is complete in early August.

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  • 5 - 74" flat screen tv's. Would you have to be Linda Blair in the Exorcist to watch all of them?

    -- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 6:59 AM
  • A state-of-the-art facility to cover all emergencies with the space for training is a great addition to Putnam county. Kudos to Hyten and Costin for accomplishing this.

    -- Posted by cloverlady on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 10:22 AM
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