Alamance County’s board of commissioners has approved a six-figure design contract for a former industrial building in Burlington that will ultimately serve as a new base of operations for the county’s emergency dispatchers.
During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, the commissioners unanimously agreed to hire the Schrader Group out of Raleigh to redesign this decommissioned industrial building at 780 Plantation Drive in order to accommodate both the county’s 9-1-1 center and a bank of municipal dispatchers who are currently housed at Burlington’s police department.
The commissioners ultimately tapped Schrader for these services based on a recommendation from a staff-level committee that had evaluated nine architectural firms interested in this particular contract.
According to Sherry Hook, Alamance County’s deputy manager, the committee’s members chose the Raleigh-based firm owing to its impressive list of past projects, including a new state-of-the-art 9-1-1 center in Chatham County.
Under state law, the county is required to engage professional services such as design work based on a firm’s qualifications – only then can it consider the price factor as a component of contract negotiations.
In this case, the county’s staff-level committee deemed Schrader to have the best credentials to redesign and expand the 67,000-square-foot facility along Plantation Drive, which had previously been home to BD Diagnostics, or Becton Dickinson as the company was formerly called.
According to Hook, subsequent contract negotiations settled on a proposed fee of $417,097 for the company’s design services. Hook added that the funds to cover this contract will come from $15 million in state funds that that have been explicitly earmarked for the county to set up a consolidated 9-1-1 center.
Hook acknowledged that there is much work to be done before the county’s emergency dispatchers can move into the former industrial site. Even so, the prospect that these operators will one day work under the same roof as their counterparts in Burlington was hailed as a triumph by John Paisley, Jr., the chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners.
“Both Burlington and Alamance County will, for the first time, be combined in one area,” he said before the board’s 5-to-0 decision. “It will save a lot of time…and it will literally save lives.”