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911 board to consider architects for new center

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E 9-1-1

Polk County E-911 Central Dispatch board members sought to make their initial architect selections Monday, Aug. 5, as the group plots construction of a new dispatch center. 

Three firms, St. Louis-based FGM Architects, Hoefer Wysocki of Leawood, Kansas, and Buxton Kubix Dodd of Springfield, have been selected to give hour-long, in-person interviews starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, according to meeting minutes. 

Board members had voted in June 2017 to purchase 4.8 acres in Davis Properties' Village Acres near Killingsworth Avenue and Mo. 32 for $180,000 as a location for the center. 

Dispatchers currently operate out of leased space in the basement of Windstream’s facility on South Lillian Avenue. 

The board, which then included members Dan Melilli, Kermit Hargis, Denzil Roberts, Jeff Miller, Brent Watkins, Mark Stanek and Chairman Steve Bruce, approved the land purchase 4-1, with Watkins casting the dissenting vote, according to previous BH-FP coverage. 

Stanek was absent, and Bruce was then not a voting member. 

The current board consists of Bruce, who is still chairman, Roberts, Melilli, Clay Meyer, Ken Witt, Watkins and Miller. 

The six firms included in last week’s evaluations also included Kansas City-based DRAW Architecture + Urban Design, Springfield’s Paragon Architecture and Archimages, which is based in St. Louis.

According to notes from the minutes, DRAW Architecture + Urban Design gave a projected end-date of 21 months, and its resume didn’t feature any 911 center projects. It also didn’t mention the board’s property or requests, according to the minutes. 

The minutes noted that Paragon provided an incomplete design process with no timeline and listed “minimal” 911 centers previously built.

Buxton Kubix Dodd’s presentation booklet “fell apart,” the minutes note. However, the business is local and listed the board’s needs/wants, the minutes state. 

Archimages gave an incomplete timeline but did have experience with other 911 centers, according to the minutes. 

Hoefer Wysocki, the minutes stated, had previous 911 center experience and offered a build that was “100% designed at or below budget, with an ‘outstanding’ visual presentation.” However, the minutes noted the firm’s offering was “not tailored to us and a little difficult to read/understand.”

FGM offered a presentation book with the Polk County Central Dispatch Center name and logo in it and is “100% dispatch based,” the minutes state. The firm’s projected end date is 14 months but offered no mention of dispatch’s specific property. 

After looking them over, board members discussed whether to interview two or three firms, with the three-firm option winning by a 5-2 vote. Watkins, Bruce, Meyer, Witt and Miller voted for three firms, while Melilli and Roberts voted to interview two.  

A new center

According to the request for proposal sent out to the architects, board members have a relative idea of what they’re looking for. 

“We believe the design of the building would be aesthetically pleasing and would fit well with the adjacent commercial properties in the area where it is being constructed,” the document states. Specifically, the board’s request included:

  • private gated lot for staff and outside agency personnel
  • public lot with front lobby entrance
  • secure lobby with a public restroom
  • two drive-through sally ports
  • room to store road sign equipment and mapping vehicle 
  • maintenance and storage for the mobile communications unit
  • work area to assemble road signs
  • board room
  • training room
  • emergency operations center
  • media room 
  • director’s office, TAC office, office for the administrative assistant, training coordinator office, emergency management office, shift lead office, zone office for the Missouri State Highway Patrol and two small offices for outside agency use 
  • sleeping quarters for up to six people
  • employee restrooms, a locker room with showers and break room 
  • kitchen area capable of preparing meals for up to 40 people.

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