New emergency operations center coming

From left, Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers, Fort Bend County Judge KP George, Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales and county facilities director Jamey Knight celebrate the groundbreaking of the county’s new emergency operations center.

Ground broke on Fort Bend County’s new emergency operations center, which will be built at 307 Fort St. in Richmond, across the street from the old emergency center.

The two-story, 24,000 square foot building is expected to be ready by December of this year, according to Fort Bend County facilities director Jamey Knight. There will also be a second building that will house the hazmat unit.

County Judge KP George, joined by Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales and Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers, was there for the groundbreaking ceremony. Also there was the staff of the Office of Emergency Management and the construction firms overseeing the project.

Construction of the new center was priced at $9.3 million, Knight said. George also said that the funding for the construction would come through “advance funding.” No other details were released.

In September, county commissioners approved a resolution to fund the design of the new EOC, which was $1.2 million and was paid through general obligation bonds.

Early last year, commissioners were discussing putting the costs for building a new EOC building in a facilities bond, with the construction costs proposed at $23.2 million and being located

George said thanked Morales and the city of Richmond for working together to find a suitable site for the EOC. Parts of the old EOC were demolished to help make room for the new building.

For the past few years, there have been calls from the OEM department for much-needed repairs to the old EOC. County officials said that during Hurricane Harvey, the building’s ceiling had leaks and tiles fell through to the floor.

Mark Flathouse, the county’s emergency operations manager, said that the time was right for a new facility.

“This is much needed for the OEM department. It’s well overdue,” he said.

Flathouse also said that the building will help with space, technology and communications within the OEM department.

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