County building pitched for 911 consolidation
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent October 17, 2012 11:04PM
Updated: November 19, 2012 3:14PM
CROWN POINT — The E-911 Commission will meet in the Lake County Government Center conference room next week.
It will be most members’ first glimpse at what County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-2, would like them to consider as a possible location for the main E-911 consolidated dispatch center.
“We’re in the position where we think this is a good fit,” Scheub said. Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller, E-911 Commission chairman, and Hobart Police Chief Jeff White, the facilities chairman, toured the site last week with Scheub, before deciding to bring the suggestion before the E-911 Commission.
Scheub first raised the idea of using an existing county property to serve as the E-911 headquarters at the September E-911 commission meeting. At the time, Scheub said an engineer had taken a second look at the county’s Westwind building and found it could be converted to the center for about $3.8 million to $4 million.
Using the space currently occupied by the county’s Board of Health, including the meeting room space, would be an even more cost-effective option coming in at about $2.5 million to convert.
E-911 Commission members have been considering sites in East Chicago and Hobart with expected costs of between $5 million and $8 million.
Scheub said the county building site has several additional benefits such as its central location in the county. There also will be no additional utility bills. The county already pays for the utilities for the space. Utilities were estimated at about $125,000 for the East Chicago and Hobart sites.
“It could be a win-win,” Scheub said.
Miller said the county site could be a possibility. The space for the E-911 center needs to be the right size, about 13,000 square feet, and relatively open without a lot of pillars.
“I don’t think it’s that important where the building is and what its use was, so long as it is cost-effective and it works,” Miller said.
Scheub said it is up to the E-911 Commission to recommend their preferred site, but ultimately up to the county commissioners to pick which option will fit within the county budget.