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Wood County officials talk new dispatching center contract

Architect Adam Krason of ZMM Architects & Engineers of Charleston discussed Monday the project to renovate the former Suddenlink call center at U.S. 50 and Interstate 77 and convert it into the new dispatching center with the Wood County Commission. Wood County 911 Director Rick Woodyard looks on. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission has agreed to a preliminary percentage to pay ZMM Architects & Engineers of Charleston for work to convert the former Suddenlink call center into the new 911 center.

Architect Adam Krason of ZMM appeared before the commission on Monday to discuss the contract for turning the former Suddenlink call center into the new 911 dispatching center.

Last week, the commission chose ZMM for the renovation of the 18,000 square foot facility at U.S. 50 and Interstate 77.

Krason suggested a fee of 9 percent of the project’s budget. The commission has yet to set a budget for the project, but asked for 8 percent, to which everyone agreed.

“We need the input on what the commission is willing to spend on the project to know what we are designing toward,” he said.

Krason said the project “will be more technically involved” than other buildings ZMM has locally done.

“There are several guidelines and regulations that we will have to follow,” he said. “When it comes to 911 buildings there is specific guidance.”

Officials said they knew sections of the building would have to be strengthened and secured.

Krason said efforts will be coordinated with the state fire marshal to review plans to make sure it is in line with requirements for these projects.

Commissioner Jimmy Colombo did not want any surprises to come up over the course of the project. He pointed to projects done while he was mayor of Parkersburg where additional costs were incurred because work did not meet requirements and not discovered until after the work was done.

“What I will say is when we make a mistake we own up to it and we pay for those mistakes,” Krason said. “That is the standard way we operate.”

ZMM also will see resolutions with the plan reviewers and inspectors.

“Our understanding from previous conversations is if we can leave existing components of the existing building in the state they are in we need to do that,” Krason said. “The change from its previous use to a 911 center and the building code that changes the risk category for the structure so we will look at the plans, once we get those, to see if changes need to be made to the overall building structure.”

Commission President Blair Couch said ZMM will return with an initial estimate for construction. Officials will look at amenities that could be added later to better control costs. Also ZMM will look at available space to see if other functions can be accommodated.

County officials said the building will be a secure site and the county wants to be able to store its election machines there. They also want to keep the current 911 center on Core Road as a backup facility.

Couch said utilizing the building for 911 is a good idea with something that could be in place for 25-50 years that can also accommodate future growth if the state does regional 911 centers.

“We will be in a position to be able to handle that,” he said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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