Community, Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Mon Commission looking at new MECCA 911 center in Morgantown Industrial Park

MORGANTOWN — Wheels are turning on a project to build a new MECCA 911 facility in the Morgantown Industrial Park.

The facility, as currently envisioned, would be a 9,600-square-foot structure located at the highest point of the expanded industrial park, above the Mountaintop Beverage site.

Working cost estimates put the project at about $9 million, including contingencies — but costs remain a moving target in the current market.

On Wednesday, the Monongalia County Commission sat down with Jim Smith and Mike Fortney, of MECCA, as well as Glenn Adrian (Enrout Properties), Craig Baker (Thrasher Group) and Jamie Ridgeway (March-Westin).

Adrian explained the Harmony Grove TIF district would fund infrastructure, including roads and utilities, up to the pad site.

From there, the project would be developed in a similar manner to the Mon County Center, in Mylan Park, with Enrout Properties in place of the Mylan Park Foundation.

“Our anticipation is you’re going to build this and lease it back to the county at whatever the cost of the building is, plus you’re going to add in a factor for the property tax so that the TIF is made whole,” Commissioner Sean Sikora said to Adrian, noting the commission paid off the $4.5 million Mon County Center in about three years.

Adrian said he would initiate both the project design as well as discussions with bond counsel on the details of the lease arrangement with the county, and bring those documents back to the commission.

Because Enrout is building the project on its land and leasing the finished product to the county, the county’s bid requirements would not be in play.

From an operations and expenses standpoint, it was explained the location is ideal in that it sits about 1,500 feet from MECCA’s existing Harmony Grove communication tower, meaning a new tower won’t need to be constructed at an estimated cost between $500,000 and $1 million.

The finished product would replace the county’s existing 5,000-square-foot MECCA facility, built in 1997 on Mon General Drive.

The building is the home of the county’s emergency dispatch center, as well as the hub for emergency management and homeland security operations.

Smith said MECCA currently has emergency management assets stored at various locations across the county due to space constraints.

“It’s tight,” Smith said of the current facility. “The biggest benefit will be not only just the space within the actual 911 center and [emergency operations center], but we’ll be able to bring all the county assets for emergency management under one roof.”

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