Pratt County plans multi-million dollar safety center
Pratt County Commissioners continue to work out the details on a new multi-million dollar Pratt County Public Safety Center that could be built at 400 NE 20th Avenue east of Pratt along U.S. Highway 54, where a wheat field currently exists. Architectural plans for the expanded county safety center, which would be located just south of the City of Pratt Solar Farm, were released in January 2020 by Kelly McMurphy with Landmark Architecture.
Commissioners discussed the apparent misinformation on the cost of the facility that has been circulating in the community, based on a cost estimate proposed by the Landmark Architects, according to Tyson Eisenhauer, county counselor.
“The $6.9 million estimate was put forth on the contract with the architect on Sept. 23, 2019,” Eisenhauer said. “This is strictly an estimate. It is not the final cost and more work is necessary before those costs are finalized. There are things that have to happen on our end that have to be done. This is not a final schedule. Nothing has been put out to bid."
There will be no increase in taxes to pay for the new facility which will house Pratt County EMS, Pratt County Fire and Rescue and Emergency Operations Center. Funding for the project is coming from payments to the county from the wind farms. The county receives $1.5 million a year from the wind farms and that will come into the county for the next 30 years, said county commissioner Glenna Borho.
A tentative time line puts the start of construction sometime in April, according to Wayne Scritchfield, municipal engineer for Kirkham Michael, consulting engineers for Pratt County.
“The tentative time line allows for 16 months construction with a possible completion date in June 2021, depending on contractors, supplies, weather and other factors,” Scritchfield said.
A pre-bid meeting took place Feb. 25, and bids are set to be opened for the project on March 19. Supplemental bids will be addressed on March 23 with a possible ground breaking in the middle of April. A total cost of the projects is still in the works.
The structure will include a pair of hardened rooms that will be built to withstand 250 mph winds of an EF 5 Tornado. A 50 feet by 50 feet training and conference room can hold 170 people in a classroom set up or 130 for round tables. Ample storage space is available for equipment, shower room, laundry, secure room for voting machines, living quarters for EMS, an emergency generator will provide power in the event of a power failure and an antenna tower for communications.
A section of NE 20th Avenue that connects from U.S. 54 to the emergency center will be paved.
* Reporter Gale Rose contributed to this article.