Emergency operations center, storm shelter construction OK’d

Published 12:45 am Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A new Emergency Operations Center for the Covington County EMA became closer to reality Tuesday when the Covington County Commission approved a $318,616 bid from Modular Connections.

In August of 2018, the Covington County Commission agreed to let bids for a storm shelter for the county’s Emergency Management Agency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the local EMA a $235,362 grant for the project. The county paid a 25 percent match, or $34,650, to equip the facility as an emergency operations center.

The shelter will be built on the campus of the county’s administration center.

Harris said that the current plans will allow the shelter to hold 75 people and will have three modules, the emergency operations center, a storm shelter area and another storm shelter area with two restrooms and a shower.

Harris said that they will begin construction in a couple of weeks, but she told the commission yesterday, that the end date is planned to be July 14, 2020.

“The building is prefab, so it already has concrete walls,” EMA Director Susan Harris said. “It will be a couple of weeks before they give us the finalized plans. Kevin (Kennedy, supervisor of maintenance) has to get the land ready and everything before they bring the building. We have done everything on our end, so we are just waiting for them to give us the finalized plan before we keep going.”

Since the EMA does keep on working during bad weather, Harris said that it is very important that they have this shelter.

“We aren’t like restaurants or stores,” Harris said. “They close when there is bad weather, but we keep on going, so this shelter will provide us and county employees with a safe place to keep on working during the storm.”

Harris said that there has been a lot of moving parts and that is the reason it has taken so long, but she is thankful to get things moving.

“I am so so thankful,” Harris said. “It is really a relief. We have been working on this for a long time and I am just so excited to see it and start working out of it.”

The commission also:

• Approved the purchase of a $30,000 herbicide truck.

• Approved the purchase of a vehicle for the CATS department.