Wake County mulls joining Raleigh in new emergency communications center

mquillin@newsobserver.comFebruary 18, 2013 

— Wake County emergency coordinators may join their City of Raleigh counterparts in a new building late 2015.

The city is moving ahead with plans for a $69 million building on Brentwood Road to house its 911 call center, an emergency operations center and data center. By contributing $4 million to the cost, the county can move its emergency operations center — now in the basement of the Wake County Courthouse — to the new building.

City staff proposed the new building after an earlier project, which became known as the Lightner Public Safety Center, was scrapped, largely because of escalating costs associated with security improvements.

Security questions may be an issue with the new building as well. Commissioner Paul Coble told Josh Creighton, the county's emergency management director, that he would not support moving emergency operations into a four-story building that could be a target of a terrorist attack. Coble said he thought it would be a mistake to put the center anywhere but underground.

Commissioners approved $100,000 for architects to design plans for a building that includes a Wake County component, and for a set of plans without county participation. The Raleigh City Council voted in December to go ahead with the project whether the county decides to share in it or not.

At the meeting, commissioners again took up a proposal to buy the former YWCA building and two acres of land in east Raleigh. After discussion over whether the $825,000 asking price was too high, and how the school system might eventually use the site, the commission voted to make a counter-offer of $775,000.

The YWCA declared bankruptcy last year and a trustee is trying to sell the property. If the county doesn't buy it, the trustee is expected to entertain other offers.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve the purchase of land for a new middle school in north Raleigh, known as M-13, for $2,896,000.

Quillin: 919-829-8989

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