News : Yakima County Awards Contract to Move Call Center
Yakima, Wash, August 13, 2014 -- Work on a long-awaited project to move Yakima police and fire dispatch and 911 service into a county-owned building in Union Gap is set to begin next month.
Yakima County commissioners Tuesday awarded a construction contract to TW Clark Construction of Spokane. The project is expected to be complete in February.
Half the project will be paid for by the city of Yakima under a 30-year operating agreement with the county, while the rest comes from a currently assessed 911 tax on phone services.
County officials expected work to begin last month, but the project was delayed over minor adjustments in project plans, said Yakima County Public Services Director Vern Redifer. Those adjustments were submitted to bidders before a contractor was selected.
The project entails gutting the back half of the building known as the Community Restitution Center at 2403 S. 18th St. in Union Gap, and outfitting it with a generator and antennas and other upgrades and equipment.
There will be enough space for the call center — now staffed by 35 employees — to eventually add dispatch services from other agencies, such as the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and Yakima County Fire District 5.
The 911 call center is currently housed in cramped quarters upstairs in the city’s Law and Justice center on South Third Street. The city operates 911 services, a county function, under an operating agreement with the county.
A few years ago, county officials began eyeing the 27,000-square-foot Union Gap building as a place to house the 911 call center and other administrative offices that were running short of space. The county bought the building in 1999 to house low-level offenders and inmates held under contracts with other communities, but it became idle when a new jail was built on Pacific Avenue in 2006.
Since that time, the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management and the Washington State University Extension have moved into the building. Both entities lease space. Next, the county’s Emergency Medical Services department will be moved into the building along with the call center.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, August 14, 2014