Dispatchers need more space

Dim lighting and antiquated equipment greet visitors to a converted garage which houses the Carson City Dispatch Center.

The center where dispatchers work coordinating emergency calls is running out of space for electrical upgrades, has horrible acoustics and is too cramped say dispatch workers.

"It's way too crowded, the equipment is antiquated," said Communications Supervisor Karin Mracek. "When we're busy it's hard to hear. I actually think it's unsafe."

By next year dispatch personnel will move to a new building in Ross Gold Park on the corner of Oak and Snyder streets. City supervisors approved Thursday a roughly $460,000 contract with John Anderson Construction, but several items were left from the project that would have pushed the contract over $600,000.

That means the stark, 3,300-square-foot building will be over budget from the start, forcing city staff to find roughly $117,000 in next year's budget to fund such things as landscaping and generators.

January estimates for the project hoovered around $487,000 and the city budgeted $492,700 this year for the project. Human error and bids higher than expected pushed the actual cost up.

"I don't like that we go into this with a $400,000 project and end up with a $600,000 project," Mayor Ray Masayko said. "Regardless of what we say, we're making a $600,000 decision. I don't want anyone to be surprised when we have to find an extra $117,000 in the next budget."

The building will be small, but Sgt. Jack Freer from the sheriff's department said the building has about three times the electrical and mechanical wiring than a normal building which pushes the cost up.

The dispatch center next to the sheriff's office has equipment dating to the mid-'80s and workers cramped into about 900 square feet of space. Freer said the new building will allow the dispatchers space to work. New computer equipment was funded as well, but the equipment estimated between $500,000 and $1 million has not been chosen yet.

Regardless of what system is chosen, the new center will have several computers for each dispatcher allowing them a digital map of the city and the ability to dispatch emergency personnel faster. A decision regarding the computer system will be made in December, Freer said.

Assuming the extra $117,000 is found for the entire center should be completed and in operation by June or July 2000.

"We want to do it right because it's such a crucial part of the sheriff's and fire departments," Undersheriff Bill Callahan said.


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