Georgetown, Del., Oct. 10, 2023: Sussex County’s complement of emergency managers, 9-1-1 dispatchers, and paramedics have long been united in their missions to serve and protect the public. Now they are literally working side by side, thanks to the completion of the multi-million-dollar project to house the County’s emergency assets.
County officials and other guests joined together Tuesday morning, Oct. 10, 2023, to cut the ribbon on a $12 million expansion to the Sussex County Emergency Operations Complex near Georgetown. The facility, located at Delaware Coastal Airport, since 2008 has housed the County’s 9-1-1 dispatch center and emergency management divisions. With a nearly 20,000-square-foot addition to the newly minted Emergency Operations Complex (formerly Center), the County’s Emergency Medical Services department joins their counterparts to create the first unified public safety complex.
“Bringing the administration of our public safety resources together, under one roof, has been a top priority for the County for years. This will give our staff the modern technology, training space and other amenities they need, working together, that will make for a stronger, more collaborative system to best serve our constituents,” Sussex County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said.
The expansion, which began in the fall of 2021, nearly doubles the size of the operations complex, and will serve as the headquarters and training facility for the County’s 125-member paramedic department that staffs a dozen stations across the county. In addition to office space for about two dozen administrative staff members and a logistics warehouse, the addition has a focus on paramedic education and training, as well, featuring a state-of-the-art 50-person classroom, and five medical simulation rooms, including a mock ambulance laboratory.
The new wing replaces outdated space in the County’s Administrative Offices West Complex just off U.S. 113 in Georgetown. Staff relocated to their new quarters in late August, and have since settled into the new space.
“The heart of the new facility is centered around training and education,” Sussex County EMS Director Robert Murray said. “It was our desire to ensure that we had a state-of-the-art training facility that would accommodate the County paramedics and our public safety partners for decades to come.”
Funding for the project came through the County’s portion of realty transfer tax revenue, which, under Delaware law, can be utilized for a variety of local government expenditures, including public safety.
The project was managed by Sussex County’s Engineering Department; design and engineering services were provided by George, Miles, & Buhr, and RMF Engineering, with Bancroft Construction serving as general contractor.
County Council President Michael H. Vincent said the expansion was a necessary ‘next step’ in the community’s growth, and to ensure Sussex County’s public safety system keeps pace with the increased demand for fire protection, law enforcement, and emergency medical services.
“Public safety is without question the County’s most important job. We’re talking about saving lives, and you can’t really put a price on that,” Council President Vincent said. “The training, the tools, and most importantly the talent that Sussex County employs to ensure the best public safety system you’ll find anywhere is reflected in a project like this.
“The County Council is proud of all our first-responder heroes, and we are proud to be able to deliver on that promise to serve the people of this great community,” Mr. Vincent said.