For nearly 28 years, Deanna Wells, the IT CAD vendor manager at the Cowlitz County 911 call center, has heard about the need to move from their current location — below the flood plain — in the Kelso Hall of Justice basement.
On Monday, March 1, construction broke ground for the long-awaited project at 2790 Ocean Beach Highway on the east side of Lowe’s.
“We’re excited,” said Wells. “We’ve dreamed of leaving the basement of the Hall of Justice for many years.”
The new, one-story location will nearly double the size of the 6,800 square foot basement the dispatch center had called home since the late ‘80s.
The flood-prone basement, said Wells, creates a hazard for the center’s “millions of dollars of equipment,” like computer, radio and telephone servers that the county relies on for emergency services.
Just last September, Wells said she had to mop water out of the basement. In the garage on the south side of the basement, she said there were several inches of standing water.
During the late ‘90s, she said dikes were built along the east side of the Hall of Justice to protect the dispatch center during a large flood.
In addition to potential water damage, Wells said the server room in the current location was not secured and did not include an air conditioning system until recently, leaving the emergency phone, radio and telephone lines vulnerable to tampering and overheating.