There wasn’t an oversized ribbon handy to slice through with a pair of scissors in order to commemorate the completion of the Chisago County Emergency Communications Center June 13. However, County Commissioner George McMahon cut through perhaps a more fitting material to mark the occasion: sheriff’s caution tape.
The 4,713-square-foot Center City facility has been in the works since November of 2009.
It replaces the outdated communications center that was formerly housed in the county jail.
McMahon said the county made do with that communications center, but a mandate by the federal government in the 1990s to “narrowband” communications – decrease the amount of bandwidth used by county and municipal radios – forced the county to build a new communications center in order to handle the new technology.
The entire cost of the project is $2.1 million, which is right around the amount the county had budgeted for the center’s construction.
The estimated cost of implementing the entire communications system, dubbed, “Allied Radio Matrix Emergency Response,” or ARMER, is estimated at nearly $10 million, which the county bonded for and will pay for over the next 20 years.
That cost includes building towers for the system, purchasing the radios, training county and city officials on how to use them and general maintenance.
The launch of ARMER coincided with the completion of the communications center.
During the unveiling ceremony for the center, Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan lauded everyone involved with the planning and construction of the building.
“This is a great day for all of Chisago County, for all public safety, he said. “It has been a long road to get to this place.”