Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center Wins Project of the Year

Ajax Building Corporation has been awarded Project of the Year from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of North Florida for work on the Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center. The project was completed by Ajax/Tandem Construction, a Joint Venture, and is now eligible for the national ABC competition to be held in March.

Completed in February 2015, and seeking LEED Certification, the $15.3 million communications complex is designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane and operate on multiple backup systems for up to three days without outside intervention.

“Ajax and Tandem Construction worked closely with building designers Architects Design Group and Fleischman Garcia Architects to ensure the facility could serve as a centralized command point during disasters and at the same time work hard for Sarasota County every single day,” said Bill Byrne, Ajax president. “This award is particularly gratifying since it comes from our peers and recognizes all the hard work that went into building a first-class facility that truly has a positive impact on the community.”

Ajax received the first North Florida ABC Project of the Year Award about 13 years ago for East Gadsden High School near Quincy, Florida, which went on to win the national Project of the Year award.

The two-story, 40,000-square-foot facility contains the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the Public Safety Communications Center (PSC) and the Sarasota County Contact Center.

The facility was built in accordance with U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design Green Building Rating System, ensuring that sustainable methods and materials were used during construction, and that the facility will efficiently use resources.

As the nerve center for Sarasota County during events like hurricanes, its main function is to ensure the continuation of government and public safety, especially during disaster situations. An adjacent communications tower enables EOC staff to communicate with local partners and neighboring counties during and following a major disaster that might impact the community.

As the daily PSC, it provides 911 and non- emergency call taking and dispatch services for fire departments and law enforcement, and demonstrates the close working partnership between the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota County Emergency Services. The Contact Center provides a hub for citizens to track down information by dialing a single phone number.

The construction cost was partially funded by a $1 million Federal Emergency Management Agency sub-grant.