San Mateo County is looking to exit the Eisenhower era.

The county's existing emergency operations center is housed in the basement of the Hall of Justice & Records building, which was erected in the mid-1950s, back when "duck and cover" was considered a safety tool against nuclear attacks.

"It's not optimal space for government offices," said Jaime Young, the county's Public Safety Communications project director, suggesting it might be turned into a storage room.

Taking its place will be a new two-story, 37,000-square-foot center planned at the County Center campus in Redwood City where the motor pool now sits. The center carries a $37 million price tag and will be "built to withstand violent shaking from an earthquake with redundant electrical, water and other systems," according to a news release. The county touts the project as the largest to be funded to date by Measure A, a half-cent countywide tax approved by voters in 2012.

Tentatively named the Regional Operations Center, it will be built to LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Building demolition at the site will begin in mid-May and a groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place in late June. The county plans to be occupying the new center in December 2017.

 

The project includes a new 9-1-1 dispatch center, which will be housed on the second floor. The call center is currently housed in the county's jury room, which can hold no more than 100 people. The new call center will be roughly double that size, accommodate up to 350 employees and contain nine additional work stations.

Young said cities in the county will be able to share the new call center.

"We are aligning with state and national goals of consolidated systems and operations, which will provide opportunities for all public safety agencies to take advantage of the state-of-the-art facility and the new technology we will use," she said.

Young added that the Regional Operations Center will also house a secure data center with "hard servers ... so all of the county's data retains integrity."