One year and one day from the time ground was broken, Anson County’s new emergency services center opened with a brief dedication ceremony and open house on Sunday afternoon.
“What you see here today is the culmination of almost three years of work by our county employees,” Sheriff Tommy Allen said.
The new 24,000-square-foot facility houses EMS, emergency management, fire marshal, systems and IT support services, road naming and an emergency operations center. The 911 Center is scheduled to open in April. Sheriff Allen said that more than 60 full-time and part-time employees will be working in the building.
“EMS has been operating out of a converted office building,” he said, adding that vehicles that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been left outside with no protection from the extreme cold or extreme heat.
The new facility has been constructed under FEMA standards, meaning it is built to withstand hurricane-force winds.
Anson County Commission Chair Anna Baucom said, “You cannot imagine how proud we are. What a wonderful time for our community. This building was built for the people of Anson County, and Anson County people deserve the best.”
Wadesboro Mayor Pro Tem James David Lee appeared on behalf of Mayor Bill Thacker, and congratulated everyone involved on “a beautiful facility.”
Chris Malinowski of Messer Construction thanked the county for being great to work with, and pointed out that even though it rained for 140 straight days once the project got started, it was finished on time and on budget.
County Manager Lawrence Gatewood shared a story from his childhood in which he discovered what “vision” meant. He quoted the passage, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
“Today, we celebrate the reality of our vision,” he said. Gatewood added that the new facility is large enough to accommodate the county’s needs for the next 50 years. “More importantly, this building is affordable for Anson County,” he said.
In addition to serving Anson County’s needs for many years to come, the new emergency services center also has the ability to serve as a back-up facility for other counties.
The center is located at 2230 Country Club Road in Wadesboro.