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April 23, 2014

New 911 center hits the drawing board

THOMASVILLE — Thomas County commissioners will receive architectural preliminary drawings for a new Thomas County 911 center in June.

911 long ago outgrew the agency’s quarters in the 100 block of South Crawford Street.

Commissioners are considering building a new 911 center behind the Thomas County Judicial Center on county-owned land near the intersection of Monroe and Stevens streets. The building would front on Monroe, said county Commissioner Wiley Grady, county commission public properties committee chairman.

Original plans for current 911 housing called for 5,000 square feet, but the square footage was reduced to 2,500 square feet.

The proposed building would contain 6,500 square feet, Grady said.

Existing 911 equipment expires in October. The commissioner said new equipment will cost about $300,000.

The structure and equipment are expected to cost $1.5 million — funding already set aside by commissioners.

Commissioners had discussed moving 911 to the Hill building on West Jefferson Street, but the structure is not suitable for the agency, Grady explained.

Although the structure is well-built and structurally sound, it does not meet federal standards for withstanding high wind.

The Hill building will be remodeled to house environmental, mapping and building offices. Money for the project will be available in the 2015 budget, with no plans to raise taxes, the commissioner said.

The extension service, currently housed in the Hill building, eventually will move to the county-owned Hancock Center on Smith Avenue.

In another future move, the public defender office, now housed at the Hancock Center, will move to the former 911 location on South Crawford.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.

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