The City of North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is to build a new emergency operations and data management center.

The facility was announced this month in the wake of a North Myrtle Beach Council members and city staff budget workshop.

The initial budget for the project is around $2 million, eventually rising to $12m. The city is rezoning land off Champions Blvd for the facility on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway. Specifications of the facility weren't shared.

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– North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Garry Spain told Count on News 2 that it was important that all emergency support functions are under one roof where it can operate as a united unit. The current EOC building is inside of North Myrtle Beach City Hall, but services have outgrown the space, forcing emergency crews to spread throughout the city.

“With the new EOC, the footprint of the building and the meeting area, and the workstations will be large enough and suitable for all involved to have a decent workspace and a work area where we can work together more efficiently,” Spain said.

The new EOC will be able to withstand category five hurricanes and mainly serve as a place for emergency crews to manage emergency scenes such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Discussions about a new EOC and data center have been ongoing since at least 2020. To be located on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway, the new facilities will share the site of a new fire station. Construction was delayed in 2021’s budget in order to save $2 million.

Previous documents suggest the new data center would provide the City with added redundancy and a secure location in the event a major hurricane compromises infrastructure located east of the Waterway. Currently, the City does not have emergency operations capabilities west of the Waterway.

Spain isn’t sure when the building process will begin because of the current supply shortages going on nationally.

“The cost of construction is very high,” Spain said. “So, we’re trying to plan everything out to where it meets our needs as well as making sure it’s not going to take three years or so to build. We’re constantly in communication with those in the construction field and with an architect that is letting us know when the right time is to move with this building.”

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