Rising on simply over two acres of inconspicuous land north of Lacombe is a 16,000-square-foot construction that can ultimately be stuffed with excessive tech communications gizmos that could enhance emergency response in St. Tammany Parish. When it opens its doorways, maybe later this yr, the parish's new 911 communications headquarters will probably be one of many extra futuristic operations on the North Shore.
Its opening will permit the parish's Communications District to maneuver from the outdated former parish courthouse in downtown Covington to a extra modernistic facility alongside Krentel Street off Louisiana 434 simply north of Interstate 12. Will probably be virtually double the dimensions of the present 911 dispatch center.
"Will probably be one of the advanced buildings in the parish," stated Rodney Hart, government director of the communication district.
Development on the $9 million facility started in April and needs to be accomplished by the fourth quarter of 2018. Officers hope to have it absolutely operational by the top of the yr, making a consolidation of kinds.
The brand new facility will home the entire emergency dispatching in the parish. Along with its headquarters in downtown Covington, the communications district at the moment has different dispatch places for different police and hearth departments in the parish.
Hart stated the constructing is being designed to satisfy the emergency communications wants of the parish effectively into the long run. "We do not need to should undergo a transfer each few years," he stated. "We wish one thing that can serve us for years to return."
Funds to function the communications district are derived solely from 911 charges on households, and companies phone land strains and cell telephones.
Officers have stated having a single 911 center will probably be more economical. Cash the district now spends on lease for the dispatch places might be put towards the debt on the brand new facility. The district has been paying $100,000 a yr to the parish to lease house on the former courthouse on Boston Avenue, an outdated constructing that was pressed into service as a communication center greater than a decade in the past.
The district, which operates as a separate entity from parish authorities, has been sharing house in the previous courthouse with the parish's Emergency Operations Center. Plans have been drawn to construct a brand new EOC near Lacombe, simply north of the brand new 911 center. However these plans are actually on maintain, parish spokesman Ronnie Simpson stated.
The outdated courthouse, on the northeast nook of Boston and New Hampshire streets, was constructed in the late 1950s and remained in service for 44 years till the parish opened a brand new $65 million courthouse just a few blocks away in 2003. The previous courthouse then grew to become the parish's Emergency Operations Center and Workplace of Homeland Safety and Emergency Preparedness, plus the 911 name center.
Parish officers have stated they plan to promote the outdated courthouse at public sale as soon as it's now not wanted for the 911 center and its different makes use of. Group leaders in Covington, in the meantime, have stated they want to see the outdated courthouse stay public property and transformed right into a museum, a enterprise incubator or a park.
Covington Metropolis officers plan to type an advisory committee to assist decide the very best makes use of for the previous courthouse as soon as it's now not used as a communications center.