Local News

Cumberland preps new 911 emergency center

Posted January 18, 2019 2:25 p.m. EST
Updated January 18, 2019 3:12 p.m. EST

— After years of debate, Cumberland County is getting a new 911 call center that will house all of the needed municipal and county services that respond to residents during emergencies.

The building formerly housed operations for the U.S. Department of Defense, which made a number of upgrades to the structure while its workers were there.

Cumberland officials hope to renovate and move into the new building within 18 months.

One of the building's most important features arises from its location outside of Fayetteville's 500-year flood plain.

The building will mean cost savings for the county.

If Cumberland had built the new center from the ground up, it would have cost between $30 to $35 million. But the expense to renovate the facility is much lower, allocated to cost between $15 and $18 million.

Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and some city council members toured the building Friday. They are mulling whether to join the county and relocate the city's 911 call center to the Cumberland County operation.

Because the building had house the federal defense agency, it comes with a $1 million fence that is capable of withstanding a car bomb attack. It also has backup power generators in case the building loses electricity.

County officials have plans to expand the current 19,000-square-foot building by another 5,000 square feet, and the structure already contains the computer racks and wiring needed to handle the elaborate 911 and emergency communication systems needed to coordinate operations for EMS, fire and law enforcement agencies during a crisis like a hurricane or winter storm.

Cumberland County has invited the city of Fayetteville 911 operations to move in, which would consolidate the city's and county's 911 operations in a single building.

Both agencies agree that the upgrade is long overdue.