Riley County Commissioners have green lit a $14.3 million project to include construction of a new public safety headquarters.

Commissioners were presented three options that included a full new building, an EMS only facility and a third option that would renovate the current EMS facility into a separate Emergency Operations Center, but only after the headquarters facility is completed. The commission opted to do accept both options 2 and 3.

EMS Director David Adams stressed the need for that third option to somehow be included.

“The county still does not have a backup dispatch. If something were to happen to RCPD, the county has got some pretty significant difficulties,” he said.

Commissioner John Ford echoed those sentiments.

“The June 2008 tornado, when it came through town, missed it by about a mile and a half,” he said.

Projected costs for the EMS building will range from $11.4 and $13.5 million. The cost for the backup dispatch would be roughly $900,000. The potential cost of a second floor on the new building would be approximately $2 million. Unused ARPA funds will be utilized to help pay for the project.

County Clerk Rich Vargo voiced concerns for the space to be built to last.

“Be sure you build it so it can last 40 years. To have additional space you have to. If we’re going to do this, (let’s) do it right. The one that I see more than likely growing and needing space is Russel (Stukey) because I do think David’s (Adams) expansion will probably be another facility closer to where the calls are,” he said.

The initial option had been to construct a full new building that would have included office space and storage, a basement for EOC and dispatch as well as infrastructure for future full dispatch capability and a shell floor for future expansion. That option was scrapped when cost estimates came in between about $18 to $22 million.

Commissioner Ford noted Thursday that having a campus style space works well, if all services can’t be under one roof.

“We’ll have two buildings adjacent to each other. You’ve got all your relevant county services in one spot. It works well for IT, emergency services, having it basically a Patrick Mahomes throw away,” he said.

Construction is expected to begin in February 2024, and be completed in early 2025.