By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
The Madison Fiscal Court opened bids from eight architectural firms in a called meeting Tuesday for design of a $4 million, 13,000-square-foot expansion to the county’s Emergency Operations Center.
The expansion will nearly double the facility, said Judge-Executive Kent Clark.
The Emergency Management Agency has been working with public safety consulting company, Mission Critical, to put together a concept for the project. This same firm is helping to upgrade EOCs for neighboring counties, said Michael Bryant, director
of Madison County’s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program and assistant EMA director.
The eight bids will be carefully examined before a recommendation is made to fiscal court, perhaps as early as it March 26 meeting, Bryant said.
During the federally funded expansion, the emergency operations will move temporarily to Berea, he said.
The Berea Joint Information Center (JIC), located in the Dresser Building, and the Berea EOC, located in the basement of City Hall, are already backup centers in case the Richmond JIC and EOC are not operational, said Bryant, who expects they will occupy those locations for about a year.
The move in late summer or early fall, he said, “but we will still have a presence in Richmond.”
The EOC expansion is part of the preparations for destruction of chemical weapons being stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
The Army wants the organization to be in 24/7 operation mode by 2016 and moved into the expanded facility no later than 2015.
The funding for the project comes from Federal Emergency Management Agency, Bryant said.
The EOC on South Keeneland Drive in Richmond, houses “many different organizations all under one roof,” Bryant said.
In addition to the EMA’s 15 employees, the county fire department, rescue squad, coroner (along with a small morgue) also is stationed there.
A separate building next door houses the Joint Information Center (operated by the EMA) and the 911 call center that serves the county and both cities
When construction is complete, Bryant said, the 911 call center will be moved into the new expansion.
Bids received for dead animal removal truck bed
Fiscal court also opened three bids for a 16-foot aluminum truck bed that will be fitted to a International 7400-series truck used to pick up and dispose of dead livestock from the county’s farmers.
The county received a $50,000 grant through the Madison County Tobacco Settlement Board to purchase the new truck.
“Our is still running, but it’s getting on it’s last leg,” Clark said. “We want to put a new truck out on the road to continue to provide a great free service to farmers.”
County Attorney Marc Robbins said he attended a conference a few weeks ago and someone who had driven through the county saw the truck in action.
Robbins told them Madison County is one of the few places in state in which the service is provided at no cost to farmers.
“They were really, really impressed with that. It’s something you wouldn’t really think about but is a big benefit to the community,” he said.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at email@example.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.