Santa Barbara County supervisors have moved forward on a nearly million-dollar project to replace the emergency operations center’s HVAC system as the server room’s cooling systems experience frequent outages.
The facility at 4408 Cathedral Oaks Road near Santa Barbara was built in 2010 and serves as the hub for the Office of Emergency Management and the command center for major incident response, including fires from forest, oil spills, the deadly 2018 Montecito flash floods and debris flows, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The building’s current cooling systems are undersized for the server room equipment and “as a result, the HVAC systems experienced frequent outages requiring emergency cooling systems to be in place until HVAC equipment can be repaired and brought back online,” the Department of General Services said. said in a report to the supervisory board.
This project will expand the server room into an adjacent storage room and create an HVAC design that creates redundancy “in the event of cooling equipment failure,” General Services staff said.
The county put the project up for competition, and on Tuesday supervisors approved an amendment to the $618,812 construction contract with Smith Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Inc. of Santa Maria to meet American Rescue Plan Act funding requirements.
The total estimated cost of the project is $951,000.
The emergency operations center was funded by the county and donations from local nonprofit organizations.
It will eventually be expanded to house the new Regional Fire Communications Center with fire dispatch services for county departments.
Dispatchers from the County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments and American Medical Response now work together in one room, at the Sheriff’s Headquarters at 4434 Calle Real. The county municipal fire and police departments and the California Highway Patrol have their own dispatch centers.
All county fire agencies plan to consolidate dispatch services into this new regional center, which will be located in the emergency operations center.
Some supervisors and emergency management officials were concerned about having both dispatch centers in the same area of the county, within a mile of each other, in the event of a natural disaster, major power outage or any other emergency affecting both facilities.
In the end, the oversight board chose the emergency operations center as the site for the dispatch center because it’s more “out-of-the-box” than other solutions.
It is also located adjacent to the County Fire Department Headquarters and emergency power sources on campus, which also houses the County Office of Education just west of Highway 154.
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