A joint venture between local firms Tandem Development and D & B Heavy Equipment Services Limited has been approved to allow for the construction a state-of-the-art National Emergency Operations Centre, announced Premier and Minister for Finance Andrew Fahie at a signing ceremony yesterday afternoon.
The contract, which includes demolition of the existing structure, installation of new support pilings, and erecting a three-level structure along with associated plumbing, electrical and landscaping works, is valued at $9,803,215.53. Works are expected to last 530 days – approximately 18 months.
Premier Fahie said at the signing ceremony that he is pleased that the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) will be housed in a fit-for-purpose building.
“We promised the people of the Territory that we would ensure the funds are allocated to have our public officers at DDM working in a fit-for-purpose and resilient accommodation. We are well aware of our exposure due to our geographic location when it comes to the threat of hurricanes and similar disasters. Our public officers who work at DDM deserve a better working environment and by constructing this new facility, better they will get,” he said.
The funding for this project comes from Government’s Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Hurricane Recovery Loan made possible by the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) loan.
Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Governor Mrs. Sharleen DaBreo-Lettsome, MBE, who led the DDM for many years, shared that the new building is expected to be able to serve the Territory for years to come and the design elements will meet international standards for model critical facilities.
“We are confident that with the extent of the engineering and the architectural designs, this structure will take us through the many hazards that we experience in this Territory,” Mrs. DaBreo-Lettsome said.
Director of Projects in the Ministry of Finance Dr. Drexel Glasgow recounted the development of the NEOC from the design stage through today, sharing that it was envisioned as being an exemplary facility.
“It will be the first of its kind in the Caribbean,” Dr. Glasgow said at the ceremony. “We focused on sustainable and resilient development elements, energy and water efficiency, and care for the environment, so it’s something that, when it is complete, we would be very proud of.”
The facility was designed by Virella, Crespo and Associates from Puerto Rico in keeping with the new International Building Code as well as The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Building Code. It is also expected to meet Leadership in Energy and an Environmental Design (LEED) standard, which is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Virella, Crespo and Associates will provide construction management supervision throughout the construction period.