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June 11, 2014

Commissioners OK emergency radio contracts

NEW CASTLE — A new Lawrence County Emergency Operations Center comes with an upgrade of the county’s emergency radio communications system.

Tuesday, the Lawrence County commissioners approved a contract with Motorola for $5,705,384 for the upgrading of the county’s radio system used by police, fire, ambulance and 911 dispatchers. The cost includes hardware at the communications tower sites, dispatcher console equipment and field units and associated hardware.

Brian Melcer, the county’s public safety director, gave a presentation to the commissioners last week about the proposed enhancements. Motorola’s was the lowest of four proposals the county received.

The commissioners also approved a microwave system purchase agreement at a cost of $798,940 with Microwave Network/Communications International for a system that will connect all the communications tower sites in the county. That company was the lowest of five bidders.

The purpose of both agreements is to provide better and more up-to-date radio communications in the county and interconnections with surrounding counties, especially in areas that currently have lapses in communication, Melcer told the commissioners.

The upgrading of communications goes hand-in-hand with the county’s construction of a new building in Hickory Township for its 911/public safety center, expected to cost around $5 million.

In January, the commissioners named Eckles Architecture and Engineering as the primary designers for the building. The commissioners have said they are planning to finance the project through a bond issue.

Melcer told the commissioners Tuesday he anticipates a groundbreaking later this year, with completion of the building in fall 2015.

In October, the county had extended a contract with Mission Critical Partners of Wexford and State College as consultants to continue with the project phases.

They commended Melcer and the consultants for their work in ironing out all the details for the proposed communications project.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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