PITTSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Chatham County has a new emergency operations center. It was built to accommodate the growing needs of one of the quickest developing counties in North Carolina.

“Our old facility was about 30 years old, so we physically did not have space to add more consoles, more positions for people to work at,” said Mike Reitz, Chatham County’s emergency communications director.

The more than 37,000 square foot building is a noticeable size up from the original 5,000 square foot building. Reitz said the upgrade allows him to hire more 911 operators, going from 22 full-time employees to 34.

“As the community grows, but also the other public safety entities like the fire, EMS and law enforcement. As their departments grow. It’s not only an increase in the calls that no one calls that are made, but it’s also the radio traffic,” said Reitz.

The center also has space devoted to large-scale emergencies.

“We moved in this county about 2000 pieces of PPE and other equipment during COVID, during the 800-some-odd days of COVID. We didn’t have adequate enough storage space prior to this,” said Steve Newton, the emergency management director of Chatham County.