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County takes steps to move 911, UCSD

A feasibility study for moving 911 and Unicoi County Sheriff's Department offices was to be discussed by the Unicoi County Commission during a meeting held Monday, Jan. 28, however, Gary Tysinger of the engineering firm Tysinger, Hampton & Partners (TH&P) suggested the commission approve a proposal provided by his firm.
The commission unanimously approved the hiring of TH&P to carry out the duties outlined in the proposal.
Tysinger included in his proposal the renovation of a storage building currently in use by the county's ambulance company, MedicOne Ambulance Service.
“We can accomplish this at a more economical and quicker pace,” Tysinger said.
Two amendments to the proposal were also considered, which include replacing the existing jail's roof and the addition of a UCSD evidence room and offices for UCSD investigators.
Total cost of the project will be determined after the design phase is completed, said Commissioner Doug Bowman.
For weeks Unicoi County Commissioners, Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department officials and Building and Grounds Committee members have been brainstorming how to potentially move employees out of the offices located underneath the Unicoi County Jail.
“It’s something that’s going to have to be done or it’s going to keep costing us more and more money to keep the offices under the jail,” Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch said on Monday morning.
The move of 911 and USCD offices comes as a result of inmates reportedly causing flooding in the upper portion of the jail which leaks down into the offices below and creates unsatisfactory working conditions for the 911 and UCSD employees.
Bowman said he feels the storage unit behind the jail annex would be the best option.
“It would be cheaper to renovate just one area and keep it localized,” Bowman said on Friday during a Building and Grounds Committee meeting. “This is more square footage than the two areas they are in now. Both will have more room and 911 and the sheriff can still work together as they have been.”
The storage unit in consideration is about 2,000 square feet, Bowman said.

For the remainder of this article please see the January 29, 2013 edition of The Erwin Record.