Kingsport 911 dispatchers are preparing for a move across town and some big technology updates to keep you safe.
They answer more than 60,000 calls a year from the city's Justice Center.
"This building has been in existence for 25 plus years and obviously the city has grown in those 25 years," said Deputy Police Chief Dale Phipps.
Phipps told us they need more room and updated equipment. They're planning to move across town to new building, which will go up at the old Kingsport Foundry site. We're told the new dispatch center will almost double the size of their facilities.
"It will be large enough to house 12 dispatch consoles," said Phipps. "It's much larger than what we already have."
Fire Chief Craig Dye told us dispatchers aren't the only ones who will benefit from the extra space.
"If we have a disaster, people need to get together around a table and discuss what's going on and who to send where," Dye said. "The department heads of those different departments will be able to talk to each other."
We're told an architect has already submitted sketches of the new building's design. On March 18th, they'll start bidding the project. They hope to tear down the old Foundry site building by the end of the month.
"We need a new system, it's time," said Dye.
He told us the new building is just the start of the project. They'll also upgrade their technology, as part of state-wide improvements.
"New equipment, everybody's going to be better connected," Dye said. "There's going to be better ways if you have a disaster and phones are tied up, they can roll to a different dispatch center."
Back at the Justice Center, Chief Phipps told us the upgrades will also make it easier to report an emergency.
"NextGen will provide where people can text emergencies and a lot of other things in that regard," said Phipps.
He told us it may be a while before you'll see these changes. They're still deciding on when construction on the new building will start.
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