The Jackson County Emergency Operations Center had its ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a new building in Marianna.
Jackson County administrators and the emergency management team announced Thursday that a stronger and more weather resistant building has begun its construction thanks to over $2 million dollars of funding from the state of Florida, USDA Rural Development and FEMA.
The current Emergency Operations Center resides in a run-down building that was never intended for this purpose.
Jackson County Administrator Ted Lakely said, "Presently, the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center is in a building that is over 50 years old. Actually, it was built in 1948 and the building was never designed for that, it was built to be a jail."
The new facility is estimated to be finished in 280 days, just before the peak of the 2008 hurricane season. The new building is designed to withstand category five hurricane winds, between 140-150 mph.
Lakely added, "This building will be an 8,000 sq. ft. facility that will house the Emergency Operations Center, the Emergency Operations Management Office, Fire Rescue Headquarters will be in the building and it will be state of the art. It will be a very used facility to have in case of emergency, and we have had emergencies."
The new building will provide stability to rural areas when faced with natural disasters, and has been a project in the works for over six years.
Rodney Andreasan, with Jackson County Emergency Management said, "This will provide us some continuity of operation, and continuity of government as well because the building will be built to withstand category five winds. And, if we got something here that bad, most of the buildings would be destroyed."
In addition to withstanding powerful winds, the new facility will have an emergency auxiliary power system to provide electricity for equipment during power outages.
When natural disasters strike, firefighters, police officers and emergency medical professionals are the people we turn to first. This building will ensure better reaction times during times of need.
The 2007 hurricane season ends on November 30th.