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West Virginia Commissioners Unveil New EMS Facility

WINFIELD - Putnam County commissioners and emergency service personnel unveiled the county's $6 million 911 building Tuesday, about five months after its projected opening date.

Commissioners, county employees and residents attended the official grand opening of the 1,700-square-foot Emergency Service Center Tuesday afternoon. It will house the county EMS, 911 dispatch center and the board that handles administration of the county's fire department.

The county fire board and EMS staff were originally expected to move into the building in November, and 911 dispatch employees in January.

Employees were not able to move until April because of continued construction within the building for electrical and phone line work and other projects, said County Manager Brian Donat.

About 125 employees will work in the building, which was constructed with two main points in mind: new technology and lots of room to expand.

The building is outfitted with a number of state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, in addition to new phone lines and computers and enough space projected to meet any expansion for several decades.

In order to attract quality employees to respond to the county's emergencies, "we need a quality facility," Commissioner Joe Haynes said.

Emergency dispatchers were located in the basement of the old county courthouse with "no windows, no view, just walls and carrels," he said.

County EMS and the fire board employees had worked out of a garage, also known as the "blue building," built in 1976.

The county plans to tear down the old garage, and will put ads out for bids within the next few weeks, Donat said.

In addition to the main building, the new emergency service center will feature a 5,000-square-foot garage with three double bays, two lifts and an indoor area to wash vehicles.

Planning for the building had been in the works for nearly a decade.

First of three quilt squares shows county courthouse

Also Tuesday, commissioners unveiled the county's first quilt square as part of a tourism attraction that extends from Mason County.

The eight-by-eight-foot square is the first for the Putnam County Quilt Trail, which is designed to bring tourists and history buffs to the area.

The trail started in Mason County where there are 13 squares that mark historical farms, homes and other treasures in the county, said Jackie Byars, coordinator with Great Kanawha Resource Conservation and Development.

Putnam Countians designed and painted the square, and it is the first of three planned for the county, Byars said. The square represents the county courthouse, painted red in the center with steps leading out painted green, yellow and blue - the colors of area high schools.

Byars said members of the county steering committee plan to put up the second square at 10 a.m. June 12 on the Red House in Eleanor.

The Red House is a historical building that now houses the town's offices, she said.

The third square is planned for Buffalo.

For more information about the Putnam County Quilt Trail, contact Byars at 304-776-5256.

Reach Veronica Nett at veronican@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.



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