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groundbreaking

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.”