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Published June 13, 2011, 06:59 PM

GF 911 Dispatch Center Gets New Home

This is moving day for the Grand Forks 911 dispatch center. After close to a year of construction, the new $2.1 million facility, built next to the law enforcement center, is ready to go on line.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

This is moving day for the Grand Forks 911 dispatch center.

After close to a year of construction, the new $2.1 million facility, built next to the law enforcement center, is ready to go on line.

The addition to the law enforcement center is 4200 square feet and is space they have been waiting for a long time.

Dispatchers describe their previous facility as cramped.

Margaret Emanuel is the dispatcher supervisor. She says the new addition is a welcome upgrade, especially in the leg room department.

"We have outgrown this space. Our center has grown, we dispatch more agencies now and we outgrew the space quite a few years ago," Emanuel said.

Dispatchers will have three times the space. And it comes with some other upgrades, as well. A new tower system will mean clearer communication. Some of the upgrades are so new, they will have to wait for the state network to catch up.

"We will be able to receive text messaging and other forms of calling 911 than the traditional phone calls," PSAP director Becky Alt said.

Ault says texting 911 might be a couple of years down the road. But this week, the future is bright. Literally. The new building has windows, something the old space lacked.

And the new addition is built to take a beating. It's constructed to withstand an F4 tornado.

Ault says the new facility will make 911 work a little less stressful.

"New computers. We have larger screen monitors. It's just going to be a much better environment for staff to work, as well," Ault said.

Most of the $2.1 million cost of the new dispatch center was paid for with the 911 fees that appear each month on area cell phone and land line bills.

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