New Castle News

December 11, 2013

County considers 911 land purchase

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A 42-acre tract in Hickory Township is likely to become the home of Lawrence County’s 911 center.

The county commissioners said they will vote Tuesday on a sales agreement for the purchase of property owned by Frank R. and Kimberly Augustine and Michael H., Janet, Michael A. and Kathlene Linz.

The asking price is $200,000.

Its purchase would be the first step toward building a new Lawrence County public safety building.

According to the commissioners, the tract is next to Nordson XALOY on Countyline Road, just over the city line off Cascade Street.

The county has money available for the purchase in its capital expenditures fund, county adminstrator James Gagliano said.

County solicitor Thomas W. Leslie negotiated the terms of the sale agreement and presented the document to the commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

He noted a communications tower will be put up at the site, and sufficient elevation was a key to selecting it.

Commissioner Bob Del Signore commented that he had viewed the site.

“It’s high and it seems like it’s gradual downhill,” he said. “It seems like a good site.”

Commissioner Steve Craig commended public safety director Brian Melcer for his diligence in choosing a site with a fair price for the venture.

For years, the 911 center has been housed in the Cathedral, where the county pays a monthly rent of $3,160.

A project to build a new county-owned facility is expected to cost about $5 million. That includes the site acquisition, architectural fees, construction and technology.

The cost to build a communications tower on the site will be additional.

In October, the commissioners agreed to extend a contract with consultants from Mission Critical Partners of Wexford and State College to continue with the project phases.

The next phases will involve implementing the radio system and evaluating architect proposals to design the new building, Melcer explained.

The county has proposals from six architectural firms for the 911 center design, he told the commissioners.

The next phases also will involve managing the transition of the technology for the building.

Melcer had told the commissioners he anticipates the new public safety building will be up and running by late summer 2015.