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      Florence County set to build $4.9 million 911 center

      The current Florence County Law Enforcement Center. Photo courtesy of the Florence County Emergency Management website.

      Florence County is preparing to build a new $4.9 million Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that will house Florence County Emergency Management and E-911 Central Dispatch Departments.

      The funding will come from revenue expected to be generated from the penny sales tax extension referendum that voters approved in November.

      The departments are currently housed at the Florence County Law Enforcement Center on Friendfield Road in Effingham.

      The new facility will be built across the street.

      Emergency Management officials said it was time for a new facility that could better accommodate their growing needs.

      "We have outgrown the facilities that we currently have. Both the EOC and 911 center. We just really have kind of. There is really no lunch area, break area, locker room area. All of that stuff is crammed into one little room. We have more people than we have office space. It's really time to expand. So, we're going to build something that's an eye to the future. We need to build a facility that can accommodate technological advances," said Dusty Owens, Director Florence County Emergency Management Division.

      Florence County Council has chosen Stewart Cooper Newell architecture firm of Charlotte in collaboration with Collins and Almers of Florence to design the facility, Owens said.

      Construction is expected to begin shortly after a design is planned.

      It's expected to be finished and operational in two years.