Members of Hillsdale Emergency Management and Hillsdale County 911 Dispatch celebrated the first day of construction on a new dispatch building at a groundbreaking ceremony in the Industrial Park on Tuesday.
Located in the Industrial Park, the site of the new dispatch center will have better access to radio and cell towers as well as the city’s fiber optic network. The new dispatch center is expected to be completed by the middle of October 2016 and will replace the existing one outside the city in Osseo, Michigan.
“The difference the new facility will make will be huge,” Hillsdale Emergency Management Director Doug Sanford said. “We currently are set up in part of a rented building. It got really crowded in there, and a lot of times noise from the radios could be heard on the dispatch phones. Now we have more space and access to the resources we need.”
Sanford said that the project for a new dispatch center has been in the works for almost four years and — thanks to meticulous fundraising and saving — he’s excited to see it become a reality.
“The funds were collected from the standard telephone surcharge when residents make a 911 call,” Sanford said. “After four years of phone calls at almost 50,000 calls a year, we were finally able to make it happen.”
Tracy Peter, the Deputy Director of Hillsdale County Central Dispatch, said the new facility particularly the access to the city’s fiber optic network will be incredibly helpful.
“Most of our work is done on phone and computer,” Peter said. “By being so close to the signal tower and having the ability to tap into the high-speed internet in the city, we’ll be able to get so much more done.”
Two Hillsdale construction companies, Braman Roofing Company and DuBois Trucking & Excavating, are contracted to help complete the project.
The owner of DuBois Trucking & Excavating Brian DuBois said there haven’t been many projects recently which they’ve been able to lend a hand for, and they’re eager to help with the dispatch center.
“Honestly, there hasn’t been a lot of big construction projects in the last six years,” DuBois said. “It’s a relief to finally have some work to do. We’re going to work hard to get the foundation finished, and hopefully, we’ll be completed around the end of August.”
Sanford said he was glad they could utilize local business and thought that having them at the groundbreaking ceremony was somewhat poetic.
“It’s kind of ceremonial,” Sanford said. “We’ll have DuBois digging the foundation and then Braman Roofing will put the final touch on when they place the roof. It’s great that we can support our local construction teams for such an important project.”