A spirit of collaboration filled the vacant field at 654 Gulfstream Road on Thursday, May 30, as local leaders from multiple municipalities gathered at the site of Chatham County’s planned 83,000-square-foot Multi-Agency Public Safety Facility.

The Chatham County Commission, alongside mayors, managers, and mayor pro-tems from across the county, convened for the groundbreaking ceremony. Their unified message emphasized the importance of working together to provide Chatham County residents with enhanced public safety resources.

“This facility will be for the benefit of all of Chatham County – every municipality – that’s why it’s called the Multi-Agency Public Safety Building,” Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester A. Ellis said. “All the municipalities will operate out of this building, some on a daily basis, some on an emergency basis.” 

The facility will house the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Non-emergency call center (NECC), E-911 dispatch, the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), and other public safety entities. The construction of the MAPS facility is slated to be completed in 2-3 years.  

The facility will be rated to withstand a Category 5 hurricane and serve as the Emergency Operations Center for Chatham County during extreme weather events and disasters. The building will be equipped with redundant HVAC, sanitation, potable water, and power systems to allow for at least 72 hours of operation if the primary system fails. 

CEMA Director Dennis Jones said he hopes to 'wear the hinges out' on the new facility and underscored the importance of intergovernmental collaboration in public safety.

“The value [the MAPS facility] adds to public safety is immeasurable. The state-of-the-art facility will help propel Chatham County into the future of emergency response and recovery efforts,” Jones said. “As we stand on this ground today, we’re not just breaking earth, we’re breaking barriers. We’re breaking down walls of uncertainty and laying the foundation for a safer and stronger community.”