Sugar Land, TX – Sugar Land City Council recently approved $996,000 for the design of a new public safety dispatch and emergency operations center building.
The project was included in a $90.76 million bond package approved by voters in 2019. The voter-approved projects focused on public safety, drainage and traffic/mobility – the three topic priorities identified by residents in previous Citizen Satisfaction Surveys.
Voters approved more than $26 million of the total to fund public safety and facility projects, including $11.5 million for a public safety dispatch and emergency operations center.
A new facility on 9.9 acres of city-owned land adjacent to the existing police building will provide additional space to accommodate public safety dispatch and emergency operations as the city continues to grow and make modifications to accommodate police personnel that are currently in leased spaces.
Construction of an approximately 17,000 square-foot building space will include dispatch, an emergency operations center, I.T. workroom, parking, fencing and related site work.
Public Safety Dispatch has been located on the second floor of the Police and Courts building since the building was constructed in 1996. In 2002, City Council approved the establishment of a permanent Emergency Operations Center (EOC) based on the recommendations of the Emergency Management Task Force. The break room that was located adjacent to the dispatch center was converted to the permanent EOC. During EOC activations -- such as Hurricane Harvey and the May 7, 2019, flood event -- it has proven valuable to have dispatch operations and EOC operations in close proximity to one another to coordinate the response efforts.
The current EOC was not designed to accommodate the city-adopted Incident Command System (ICS) structure to manage significant incidents that require organizing response by functional areas. In 2009, a portion of the dispatch center was converted into a small conference room to be utilized during EOC activations to facilitate separation of EOC staff members by functional area assignment.
Staffing for Public Safety Dispatch has increased over the years to manage increasing call volume. As the front-line staff has grown, the need for administrative staff has also grown, yet the allocated workspace has not increased. Public Safety Dispatch conducts training for new hires and holds department meetings in the EOC because there is not adequate space in the dispatch center. When the EOC is not activated, Public Safety Dispatch utilizes the small EOC conference room as an office for the dispatch administrative manager.
The design is anticipated to be completed by late fall of 2024. Visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/gobonds for more.