PORT ANGELES – Clallam County and the City of Port Angeles will pursue building a new emergency operations center near Fairchild Airport.

The proposed center would create a new county Emergency Operations Center, relocate the local police and fire dispatch, and add a new west Port Angeles fire station.

In a briefing this week with Clallam County commissioners, officials explained why they steered from a previous plan of leasing a Port of Port Angeles building at the airport. Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Project Coordinator Dale Jackson says the Port’s “1010 Building” would take too much work and cost more than a new build.

“The reason it was not feasible: There were major structural modifications required. It was insufficient space for all three of the modules that we want to put into this public safety facility, EM PenCom and fire. The cost were actually greater than going to new construction because of the demolition cost necessary to convert that building. And a  frustration with that was the poor access for emergency vehicles.”

Jackson says they recommend leasing one and half acres of Port property near the airport and building a new 17,000 square foot center.  A lease could be negotiated by November.

The detailed design would be finished in August next year with construction starting a year from now.

The project is expected to cost $12.2 million dollars. The county would contribute about four and a half million dollars, the city would contribute nearly 8 million dollars. But Port Angeles City Manager Nathan West says the city’s money includes dollars from PenCom partner agencies…

“It’s important to clarify that when you see the money that is allocated to the city, the majority of that is actually for PenCom which is a user organization that is paid for by all the users of that organization and not just the city of Port Angeles. While it’s labeled in the presentation as the city of Port Angeles,  I think it’s really important to remember that all the ratepayers of PenCom pay into that.”

Officials say they’ll also pursue state and federal grants to help pay for the new facility.

The EOC needs to move, as its current location in the basement of the courthouse is not earthquake safe.

PenCom has also outgrown its current location at Port Angeles City Hall. And the city has said it needs a better fire and EMT response site for the west side of Port Angeles