Santa Barbara County Replacing HVAC System in Emergency Operations Center | Local News

Santa Barbara County supervisors moved forward on a nearly $1 million project to replace the Emergency Operations Center HVAC system since the cooling systems for the server room have frequent failures.

The facility at 4408 Cathedral Oaks Road near Santa Barbara was built in 2010 and serves as a hub for the Office of Emergency Management and a command center for major incident response, including wildfires, oil spills, the deadly 2018 Montecito flash flooding and debris flows, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current cooling systems in the building are undersized for the server room equipment and “as a result, the HVAC systems have experienced frequent failures requiring emergency cooling systems to be implemented until HVAC equipment can be repaired and brought back online,” the General Services Department said in a report to the Board of Supervisors.

This project will expand the server room into an adjacent storage room and create an HVAC design that creates redundancy “in the event of a cooling equipment failure,” General Services staff said.

The county put the project out to bid and on Tuesday, the supervisors approved an amendment to the $618,812 construction contract with Smith Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Inc. of Santa Maria to comply with American Rescue Plan Act funding requirements.

The estimated total project cost is $951,000.

The Emergency Operations Center was funded by the county and donations from local nonprofit organizations.

It will eventually be expanded to house the new Regional Fire Communications Center with fire department dispatch services for county departments.

Dispatchers for the county fire and sheriff’s departments and American Medical Response work together in one room now, at sheriff’s headquarters at 4434 Calle Real. Municipal fire and police departments in the county and the California Highway Patrol have their own dispatch centers.

All the fire agencies in the county plan to consolidate dispatch services into this new regional center, which will be located at the Emergency Operations Center.

Some supervisors and emergency management officials had concerns about having both dispatch centers in the same area of the county, within a mile of each other, in the case of a natural disaster, major power outage or other emergency affecting both facilities.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors chose the Emergency Operations Center as the dispatch center site because it’s more “shovel ready” than alternatives.

It is also located next to county Fire Department headquarters and backup power sources on the campus, which also is home to the county Education Office just west of Highway 154.

— Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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