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New Minot city hall would allow for Central Dispatch expansion

New city hall would allow for emergency dispatch expansion

Jill Schramm/MDN Dispatchers and dispatch trainees work at their consoles in the Minot Police Department Wednesday. The City of Minot plans to eventually move Central Dispatch to a new city hall, where more space will be available.

Cramped space and too few dispatchers are problems that a new city hall could solve for Minot’s Central Dispatch, according to emergency response officials.

“What it is enabling us to do is something that we should have done a long time ago, but couldn’t because of space, and that is to increase the number of dispatchers that we have on duty at any given time,” 911 coordinator Larry Haug said of the city’s plan to remodel the former Wells Fargo building into a new city hall that would accommodate Central Dispatch.

“The dispatchers in there have been overworked, overcrowded and understaffed for so long. This is a real blessing that we’re finally going to get this opportunity to move into a bigger facility. And this will enable us to accommodate additional consoles in the event that regional dispatch becomes a reality here,” Haug said at a liaison meeting of Minot city, county, parks and school representatives Wednesday.

Any expansion would come with a cost to the City of Minot and Ward County, though. Haug said the amount of money needed is unknown, but preliminary numbers are for a $200,000 to $300,000 increase in 2022 if a budget request is fully funded.

Minot City Engineer Lance Meyer said the space in the new city hall would allow for future expansion to 10 to 12 dispatch consoles, although the initial build-out would be for six consoles. Haug said six consoles would allow for three or four dispatchers because some space also is needed for dispatcher training.

Jill Schramm/MDN Larry Haug, 911 coordinator, right, speaks at a liaison committee meeting of city, county, parks and school representatives in the Grand Hotel Wednesday.

Central Dispatch currently has 14 employees, including a supervisor and two trainees. There are two open positions in the center, which operates round-the-clock all year. The minimum requirement is for at least two fully trained dispatchers on duty at any given time.

Police Chief John Klug said the department’s request is for three additional dispatchers. Klug said the police department gets about 40,000 calls a year, but the dispatch center also handles calls for fire, other law enforcement and emergency medical responders.

Lisa Olson, Minot City Council member, said plans for remodeling the former Wells Fargo building into a city hall are moving along at a pace that could allow for move in by the end of 2022 or early 2023.

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