An agency that provides emergency communications services to police and fire departments in DuPage County broke ground Monday on a roughly $15.8 million project to create a new facility on the county's campus.
DuPage Public Safety Communications, known as DU-COMM, has outgrown its facility in Glendale Heights and plans to create a new communications center that will occupy 33,454 square feet of renovated space and new construction at the former DuPage Juvenile Detention Facility at 420 County Farm Road in Winfield.
"It will be a state-of-the-art public safety communications center that will allow DU-COMM to move to the next generation of 911," Dave Brummel, chairman of DU-COMM's board of directors, said during a ceremony inside the former youth home. The event was attended by police and fire officials and elected leaders from throughout the county.
Brummel said the new facility will meet the future needs of DU-COMM's more than 40 member agencies and the residents they serve.
"This new building will allow them to continue the high level of service already being achieved as well as provide the platform for improved service in the years to come," he said.
The $15.87 million project is possible because of an intergovernmental agreement DU-COMM reached with the county and the DuPage Emergency Telephone System Board.
As part of the agreement, the ETSB is contributing $4 million to the project, and DU-COMM is using $4.3 million from its cash reserves. The cash contributions represent more than 50 percent of the project cost.
DuPage is financing the remaining $7.5 million that DU-COMM will repay during a 25-year lease agreement with the county.
Construction is expected to start within a few weeks and be completed by fall 2018.
The plan calls for renovating existing space in the former youth home and a roughly 13,400-square-foot addition.
"The portion of the building that will house DU-COMM is going to be built to last," said county board member Sean Noonan, vice chairman of the board's public works committee. He said it will be designed to resist 250-mph winds, have added lightning protection and meet standards for the construction of storm shelters.
One advantage is that there are already offices in the building for the DuPage Emergency Telephone System Board and the county's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
"When the county has a major event, three critical emergency services will be together, which will maximize the use of our resources to assist residents and first responders in a coordinated effort," Noonan said.
When DU-COMM moves to the new facility, it will be a homecoming of sorts. DU-COMM started operations on the county campus in 1975 before moving to its current location in 1995.
"Using the former youth home seemed like the perfect way to solve our desire to fully utilize our facilities and DU-COMM's need for an appropriate, high-tech communications center," said Gary Grasso, a county board member who also serves as chairman of the Emergency Telephone System Board.