Work on phase two of the St. Francois County 911 Communications Center renovation and construction project is progressing so well that 911 Director Alan Wells believes it may be completed by the end of the year if no unforeseen delays occur.

Wells spoke about last month’s move from the previous dispatch area to the new and also revealed his optimistic forecast regarding the project’s completion when the county’s 911 board of directors met in regular session Wednesday morning at Desloge City Hall.

“It’s been overwhelming moving from the old dispatchers area and going live over into the new,” he said. “Now, we had preplanned with some new equipment — some new consoles. We already had those in place. Then, with the purchase of our new radio system, we had some additional components that were installed and activated live, as well as additional Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) positions to meet the new expansion. So, we had our spare positions there installed and going live, and then we moved the phone system over.

“The move went seamlessly. It was a matter of turning on our spare systems there and then having an operator get out of their seat in the old facility, move over there and start going live in the new position. Then we tore that position down that they had just gotten off of and moved it over. We just moved one at a time and they were still working as a team. We had no downtime whatsoever.”

With completion of the new dispatch area, the process of transforming the old structure into a new Emergency Outreach Center (EOC) began.

“Now that we’ve moved out all of our old stuff and equipment, they’ve demolitioned all of that to prepare for the renovation for the EOC,” Wells said. “The EOC is where we have our resources already in place and set up there, so that in case there is ever a disaster situation that hits anywhere in our counties or our communities, that those responsible to manage that incident can work through the EOC.”

Regarding the completion date of the 911 Communications Center/EOC project, Wells said, “We’re hoping that by the end of December that phase two — which is the renovation — will be complete. Then it will be a matter of moving forward with our new 911 system and our fiber networking to Ste. Genevieve and the Farmington Police Department.

“I want to add that the 911 board appreciates our citizens — our community — for believing in us and giving us the support that we need to manage their enhanced emergency 911 and dispatch systems so we can help save lives and property. We couldn’t do it without that support and we never forget that.”

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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