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Currituck's new public safety center to be ready in two years

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Shown is an artist's rendering of Currituck County's planned $18 million public safety building that will be built at Currituck Community Park.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

CURRITUCK — Currituck officials are putting the design and construction of the county’s new $18 million public safety center into familiar hands. 

County officials met recently with Sussex Development Corp. to begin the design planning for the 47,600-square-foot facility that will be constructed at Currituck Community Park off Shortcut Road.

Sussex Development, which is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, also built the College of The Albemarle Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center and the YMCA facility, both of which are at Currituck Community Park.

Sussex has selected Boomerang Design, which has four offices in the Carolinas, to serve as the project’s architectural firm. Boomerang also worked with Sussex on the design for the aviation and technical training center.

Currituck officials say construction of the new public safety center should start in either late summer or early fall next year and be completed in late 2020. When finished, the facility will be adjacent to Currituck Regional Airport and close to the aviation center.

The public safety center is designed to house all of Currituck’s emergency service agencies — the Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services and 911 Communications — under one roof. The facility will also provide office space for use by N.C. Highway Patrol and N.C. Forestry Service personnel based in Currituck.

COA, which is contributing $1 million in state bond money toward the facility’s construction costs, will also use space in the facility for its education programs training public safety professionals. 

Currituck officials like Fire-EMS Chief Chip Melton are excited about the prospect of bringing so many public safety agencies, now scattered at several sites, under one roof. He noted, for example, that Emergency Management is currently located in a small building next to the Historic Courthouse.

“The facility they’re in right now is really undersized and they’re in cramped quarters,” Melton said.

The new public safety center will also become the county’s operations center during emergencies. Currently the Historic Courthouse serves that role.

Commissioner Paul Beaumont, who serves on the Currituck Fire and EMS Advisory Board, said the courthouse has significant limitations when it comes to coordinating countywide response efforts during emergencies.

“There really isn’t a way of providing emergency management staff the ability to see all of — or get all of — the information feeds that are currently out there,” he said.

Beaumont said the new facility will provide what’s known as “data fusion,” allowing county officials to receive multiple feeds of information in real time, not just about the weather, but about fires and vehicle accidents as well.

Beaumont said a data fusion system will track the progress of emergency response vehicles, as well as the Nightingale Air Ambulance from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia.

He noted the center will help showcase the relationship between COA and Currituck in developing the skills of first responders across the region.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig said the new center will be a state-of-the-art facility that will serve county residents well.

“It is really going to be something long overdue and something that Currituck is going to be extremely proud of,” Hanig said.

When the building is completed, the county’s emergency response capabilities will be even more efficient than they are now, he said.

“When you have everyone in the same facility, your communication just improves a hundred-fold,” Hanig said.

A separate, pre-engineered metal building of approximately 13,800 square feet will also be constructed near the public safety center. It will be designed to provide storage and training space for the multiple agencies housed at the center.

County Manager Dan Scanlon said the county will own and maintain the new facility.

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