MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Emergency dispatchers, Homeland Security and Emergency Management workers in one of West Virginia’s fastest growing counties now have more room to complete their work.
On Saturday, members of Berkeley County Council and emergency management cut the ribbon on an expanded and renovated public safety complex. Now totaling just over 19,200 square feet, the new center will greatly improve operations in a rapidly growing region of the state.
“Everything in this county is exploding as far as population,” said Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Eddie Gochenour. “It requres more services, more dispatchers. Our emergency operations center is now capable of handling all of our partners that we work with during emergencies.”
The roughly $3.5 million project was funded mostly through a $3 million bond approved by county council. $350,000 will be paid per year by Berkeley County 911 to cover the cost until it is paid off.
New features include enhanced break rooms, showers, sleeping facilities, offices and work stations. Previously, dispatchers and emergency workers who needed to stay on-site had to sleep on the floor. New male and female bunk rooms include 12 beds each.
Ribbon cutting and tours happening today at the new Berkeley County Emergency Services and central dispatch facility.
— Mike McCullough (@MikeMcC_MN) December 1, 2018
A new central dispatch floor is much larger than the original, allowing for almost double the amount of dispatcher consoles.
“It’s been a tremendous investment made by Berkeley County government,” said Gochenour. “It’s needed and we’re very happy to have it.”
Attendees of Saturday morning’s ribbon cutting included Berkeley County Councilmembers Dan Dulyea, Alan Davis, Doug Copenhaver, James Barnhart and Elaine Mauck.
“Where there’s a will there’s a way, and we seem to keep finding a way,” Mauck said before cutting the ribbon.
The complex is located on Emmett Rousch Drive near the south end of Martinsburg.