The Emergency Operations Center project remains on track for completing the final design stages.
During the citizen's public safety oversight committee meeting Thursday, Russell Anderson, Norman Police Department communications manager, provided an update on the project.
The Emergency Operations Center will be the police department's new emergency communications and operations dispatch center. It will be located on East Robinson by the new water tower.
"Communications is a major part of any large scale disaster -- man-made or natural. So, having that component within walking distance is great," Anderson said.
Anderson discussed what will be included within the Emergency Operations Center, but he said renderings are not yet ready to be made public. He said the project is in the final design stages, but some information technology designs are still being included such as adding category cables, video input and other similar features.
"In the next couple of weeks, I think we should be pretty finalized on what the drawing is going to look like," Anderson said.
Once the design is finished, the project can be put up for bid.
The $6.5 million project is part of a 2008 bond issue voters approved.
Finance Director Anthony Francisco said it will be a large facility that will house an emergency operations center and approximately 10 communication officers, call takers and their supervisors. The center's main function is dispatch.
As a hardened facility, the building will be able to withstand emergency conditions such as F4 tornados and wildfires. Francisco said the center also will be an off-site location for major fire stations and functions of the city.
During the June 13 meeting, Interim Police Chief Kevin Foster said the city wants the land platted, which is another aspect the department is waiting on before moving forward with a bid.
"[The construction date] really hinges on the platting, without platting the architectural engineers project can start the build around November with a build time of 13 to 16 months," Anderson said.
He added the ultimate goal for the completion date, provided good weather, would be Christmas 2020.
Anderson said the department is most looking forward to a more spacious facility. Norman Police Department's dispatch was moved to the downstairs basement in 2000. While the constant staffing of two dispatchers was required back then, he said the workload has increased by over 250 percent.
"So, we now run on a minimum of four people, which still isn't enough," Anderson said. "The problem is we don't have enough spaces down there to put more people in there. So what this does is it opens it up so we can get the staffing we need to protect the City of Norman the way we need to."
The video wall is another feature the department anticipates. This addition will provide the staff with videos that show where officers and their radios are at all times. The wall also includes key radio infrastructure and shows calls holding on a large monitor.
"I'm just really excited that we are finally seeing some really good progress," Anderson said. "Groundbreaking will be right around the corner, hopefully."