Trends in AEC: Multipurpose public safety centers on the rise
Entities across the country are increasingly putting money into building new and improved public safety centers. These multipurpose centers typically house several departments under one roof, including police, fire, emergency, and/or traffic.
While large states such as Texas and California have already seen an increase in multipurpose centers, cities and counties nationwide are becoming more interested in consolidating their resources. For example, the city and county of Honolulu, Hawaii, has been working on its Joint Traffic Management Center for the past several years; construction is estimated to be complete in 2017. The new center will house emergency personnel as well as the Hawaii Department of Transportation under one roof.
Ground was broken last summer for a new 911 emergency call center for the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) in Nevada. The new center will replace an outdated facility that reached its capacity and will house new technology upgrades.
Replacing outdated facilities, implementing energy efficiencies, promoting collaboration, and improving communication between departments are just some of the reasons entities choose to develop these large-scale public safety centers. Many public safety officials also agree that it is best to have all emergency personnel under one roof during emergencies.
The size of the facility varies depending on how many departments are housed under one roof. Deltek has seen centers that range from 50,000 square feet to 250,000 square feet. Project values vary depending on the center size and location, but can range from $25 million to $70 million. These high-dollar projects typically secure funding via a bond proposal package and quickly move forward once taxpayers give their approval. The most common process for developing a new center is outlined below:
The average construction time frame is about a year (depending on size of the center). Based on how much funding is available, some departments opt to either move their equipment into the new center or procure updated technologies.
These large-scale projects provide procurement opportunities for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms, as well as justice and public safety (JPS) companies. The new centers provide an opportunity for updated radio, dispatch, 911, and other emergency technologies to be procured and installed. Funding is one of the biggest components dictating how cities and counties will allocate their resources. Both AEC and JPS vendors alike should be on the lookout for entities that approve funding for consolidated dispatch centers since these projects tend to move quickly.
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