DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester County is in the process of upgrading its 911 Consolidated Dispatch and Emergency Operations Center – something officials say is a critical upgrade for the future.

The nearly $13 million project will increase the square footage available to get the county’s work done and better respond to incidents.

“We’re operating in a facility if you take into account dispatch center and emergency management, that is about 2,000-square-feet. So, we’re dealing with some pretty significant space constraints,” said Mario Formisano, Deputy County Administrator for Public Safety. “We’re going to be moving into a facility that is close to 17,000 square feet.”

The additional space means 911 dispatch officers will be able to do their job more efficiently. Right now, they only have seven consoles to take calls.

“This new center, which is capable of providing us with 16 consoles, is going to be amazing to help us with the growth of the county in the near future,” said Cora Tanton, Director of Consolidated Dispatch.

Also, new technology at the site will allow dispatch to more accurately send help directly to where your cell phone is located when you call 911.

“Our rapid deploy SOS system can pinpoint them and track to exactly the location they are at. And we can send them the appropriate response to where they are,” said Tanton.

As far as the emergency operations department, right now space is so tight they must meet in multiple locations during major emergencies. This larger facility will allow them to be able to meet in the same room.

“We are very excited to have this facility equipment for us to be together in the same place, managing the information together, and coordinating the response for the entire community,” said Thomas McNeal, Director of Emergency Management.

County leaders are expecting to have a major part of the project completed around September, and 911 should be in the new building by the end of the year.