Sarasota County Celebrates Opening Of New Emergency Operations Center

SARASOTA COUNTY (March 10, 2015) – A ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 10th honored the completion of the Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center.

This 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 (941-861-5000).

As the nerve center for Sarasota County during significant events such as hurricanes, this facility’s main function is to ensure the continuation of government and public safety, especially during disaster situations.

During an activation of the EOC, it will serve as the centralized command point within the community for representatives of municipal governments and supporting agencies’ liaisons.

“This facility will serve as the community’s beacon during disasters, providing one command center for Emergency Operations and Public Safety Communications,” said County Administrator Tom Harmer.

Also participating in Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony were Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight, Board of County Commission Chair Carolyn Mason, Sarasota County Emergency Services Director Rich Collins and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.

Built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, the facility is designed to ensure that government services will continue during significant events. Adjacent to the facility is a communications tower, which enables EOC staff to communicate with bordering counties and local partners both during, and following, a major disaster that impacts the community.

Yet, the facility will still serve a daily function for Sarasota County, as the PSC 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 facility was built in accordance with U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. This ensures that sustainable methods and materials were used during construction, and that the facility will be an efficient use of resources.

The Architects Design Group and FleischmanGarcia were responsible for the design, permitting and construction administration of the facility. The joint venture Ajax/Tandem Construction was the construction management firm. The construction cost of approximately $15.5 million was partially funded by a $1 million Federal Emergency Management Agency sub-grant.