MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Office of Emergency Management/MECCA 911 is eyeing a three-acre plot in Mylan Park as the potential site of a new headquarters.
The site is located behind Mylan Park Elementary School, just off Chaplin Hill Road.
Director Jimmy Smith and Chief Deputy Harold Sperringer met Wednesday in a work session with the Monongalia County Commission to lay out a few initial steps in determining whether the move is feasible.
Smith explained that MECCA has outgrown the 5,000 square feet at its current location, 74 Mon General Drive. The site will not accommodate expansion of the existing building, which isn’t large enough to house all MECCA’s equipment, leaving assets like a $280,000 mobile command vehicle to be parked elsewhere.
Additionally, Smith said, the Mon General Drive location is in an area that is almost always congested and all but impassable during events like home football games.
The new location, he said, would get them out of city traffic and near the interstate.
“Some of the benefits this location will give us is quick access to the interstate,” Smith said. “This will not only combine our 911 center, but it also gives us a facility to have our mobile command, our generators and all our equipment in one location.”
Four initial hurdles were identified during the meeting, the first of which involves awaiting word from CTL Engineering on whether the site can support development as much of the park sits on reclaimed mine land. CTL will do the work as part of an ongoing agreement with Mylan Park.
If given the all clear structurally, Smith said the next order of business will be securing a location for a communications tower. The county plans to approach the Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) to see if there is space available on a nearby hill next to a MUB water tower.
“We would probably be able to get away with a much smaller tower at this point. If we could keep it under 180 feet, then that means we do not have to light it, which means a long-term savings,” Smith said, noting it costs at least $1,000 to have a tower light changed.
MECCA already has a proposal from TRC Engineering for $16,950 to ensure there are clear microwave paths from a pair of prospective tower sites to the proposed location of the new facility and the Harmony Grove tower location.
As for the existing MECCA property, the county plans to meet with the Monongalia County Building Commission regarding its sale.
County Administrator Rennetta McClure said Mon Health Medical Center has the right of first refusal to purchase the property.
The county does not have an estimated value of the existing MECCA location. There is not yet a budget estimate for what the new facility and move would cost.
MECCA has been at its current location since 1997.