Greene County, Missouri’s New Public Safety Center Designed to Withstand Tornadoes
Posted: Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011 | Updated: Wed Feb 19, 2014
New Emergency Operations Center will help coordinate federal, state and local response agencies during a disaster
Springfield, MO - Springfield, Missouri, is only 73 miles from Joplin, where a deadly EF-5 tornado killed 162 people earlier this year. Although it is difficult to know when and where one of these deadly tornadoes will hit, Springfield and the surrounding communities can be comforted knowing their community’s new emergency operations and communication center is built to survive manmade and natural disasters, including EF-5 tornadoes - a category reserved for only the fiercest and most devastating of tornadoes.
Greene County’s Public Safety Center is designed to withstand 250-MPH wind speeds in order to protect mission critical systems, including the Springfield-Greene County 9-1-1 Communications Center and the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management. In order to harden the facility for survivability, the design team used heavy steel, 8 to 16-inch solid concrete walls, a foundation that is secured to solid rock, and redundant water and power systems. In addition, the 10,000 square-foot Emergency Operations Center, which is used to collect and disseminate information and resources during a disaster, is located in the basement of the Center.
Ryan Nicholls, Director of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management, said it's imperative for emergency responders and disaster operations to be protected from hazards that disrupt the rest of the community. "Nothing is more critical for a community's disaster resiliency than a functional emergency operations center," said Nicholls.
National Emergency Operations Center design experts Architects Design Group, in association with local architect Pellham Phillips Architects Engineers, designed the facility, and are working closely with the construction manager, DeWitt and Associates, Inc. This facility will be the first of its kind in Missouri.
“The community depends on emergency responders to prepare for and provide response, mitigation, and recovery from emergency incidents,” said Architects Design Group President Ian Reeves. “Disaster situations change continuously and we design these specialized facilities and operations to be survivable in order help the community when they otherwise can’t help themselves,” noted Reeves.
The Emergency Operations Center will be used to help coordinate federal, state and local response agencies during a disaster. The building will also serve as a regional coordination center for disaster response in southwest Missouri.
Construction of the 56,000 square-foot facility began in December 2010, and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2012, prior to the peak months for tornadoes in the Midwest – April, May and June. The energy-efficient building features a green roof and is designed to obtain LEED certification.