INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The City of Independence today broke ground on the new Communications Center, located south of the Independence Utility Center off of 23rd Street. The new 6,000 square foot facility will include 14 consoles for dispatchers, a training room, a 200 kW backup generator and a 120 foot radio tower. The building is designed with future growth in mind and could eventually be expanded to house an additional 10 dispatchers if needed.
“This is a long-time project that we are particularly proud to see come to fruition,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “In 2004, Independence voters approved a sales tax that helped fund this building and today we take steps to provide some of our hardest working City employees a great space to work. 911 Dispatchers talk to us on our worst days; their job is high stress and includes long hours. This new facility will provide them a space that not only meets their needs but hopefully also makes their job just a little easier.”
The 911 Dispatchers are currently housed in the basement of the Central Police Building off of Memorial Drive. When fully staffed, this division employs 31 people who in 2016 dispatched more than 170,000 calls. The current location does not meet the space needs and does not allow for modernization. The new facility is slated for completion in late May 2018.
“Our 911 Dispatchers are a vital part of our emergency response team,” City Manager Zach Walker said. “Providing them a space that will meet the changing needs of the field and also act as a recruitment tool for this difficult job were important considerations. We are proud of the work our dispatchers do day-in and day-out. They are truly there for our citizens 24/7, this building will ensure they can do their jobs effectively and efficiently.”
McCownGordon will serve as the General Contractor for the Communications Center project. They have been in business since 1999 and have grown from 15 to 320 employees. They have offices in Kansas City, MO and Manhattan, KS. Projects they have built in the area include Johnson County, KS Communications Center, Central Jackson County Training Facility, Gladstone Community Center, and Kansas City, MO Fire Station 35 and 39.
Hoefer Wysocki Architecture is the Architect for the Communications Center project. They are a full-service architecture, planning and interior design firm. Founded in 1996, the firm has grown to a staff of more than 100, with offices in Kansas City and Dallas. Design projects include Kansas City South Patrol Station, Shawnee Justice Center, Kansas City, MO Fire Station No. 35, and Leawood Justice Center.