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New Orleans emergency operations center opening Thursday

NEW ORLEANS, La. Grand opening ceremonies will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. for the $1 million, 4,000-square-foot emergency operations center and terminal building at the Slidell Municipal Airport at the end of Airport Drive north of Interstate 12.

Designed by Sizeler Architects of New Orleans and built by Mickey O'Connor General Contractor Inc. of Belle Chasse, the state-of-the-art glass and steel structure contains reinforcement crossbars, an angle-vaulted roof, and is designed to withstand the most severe weather conditions.

The unique design and structure of the new facility is intended to allow the building to withstand winds of up to 150 mph, as well as to take into account the reported seismic activity in the area.

The design also allows certain sections of the building to shift along with the swirling gusts of a major tropical storm or hurricane, or in response to underground vibrations, and then slide back into place.

The building includes offices for airport management and the fixed-base operator's manager; facilities to accommodate visitors; pilot briefing and weather monitor sections; a full-service kitchen; restrooms with showers; and the "war room" for emergency planning, communications and operations.

"Now we'll be able to handle planning, logistics and coordinate major storm rescue and recovery operations from a true emergency operations center," said Slidell chief of staff George Dunbar, former Slidell Municipal Airport manager.

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