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Increased space at new 911 center a benefit

ELKINS — The increased workspace at the new Randolph County 911 Center has already offered many benefits and advantages, a county official said.

The scheduled grand opening in August was canceled, but the new center, which is located on the grounds of the Elkins-Randolph County Airport, was up and running in October after minor delays.

“It was just things like punch lists and things that needed to be completed before it could be ready,” Randolph County Commissioner Mark Scott told The Inter-Mountain Thursday. “I think also that it took longer to get some of the equipment in there than we anticipated.

“In other words, the equipment could be ordered, but it could not be programmed, and the training could not be held as quickly as was originally estimated.”

Scott said the overall operation of the center has improved over the course of the last few months since the transition.

“Any time you change over systems, as far as communication is concerned, there are always details that have to be worked out as far as programming of radios and that type of thing,” he said. “So, there was an ongoing effort for the first few months to get the line of sight correct, but that has seemed to improve drastically since they moved in.”

One of the major benefits of moving into the new center, a $3 million project, has been increased access to information and resources, Scott said.

“When you look at the consoles where the people work, there’s a lot more information at the fingertips of the operators than there ever was before,” he said, adding that another benefit of the new location is that it offers an increased amount of space for the Office of Emergency Management, flood plane management, and mapping and addressing.

“We’ve got more room than we’ve had before and the ability to add more operators and consoles for operators, as we may need them in the future,” Scott said. “It gives us the opportunity to take what was a much more crowded situation in the old 911 Center and to be able to move it to where it’s a lot easier and user-friendly and also gives us the ability to expand if we need to in the future.”

The planning process to relocate the 911 Center was initially considered at commission meetings beginning in 2015. The project was a response to projected increases in call volume to the center and to be better prepared during emergency situations, such as Superstorm Sandy and the July 2012 derecho.

Construction of the center began in April 2018, while commissioners signed leases, sub-leases and assurances for the facility in March 2018.

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