DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Tuesday, North Carolina Emergency Management and the American Red Cross opened a statewide hurricane shelter at the old Sears building at Northgate Mall in Durham.

Emergency management officials said they are prepared to hold between 500 and 1,000 Hurricane Dorian evacuees who will be making their way to Durham from the coast.

“It’s a good location for the folks who will be evacuating from the coast,” said Sandi Bridges, incident commander for the Northgate Shelter. “It’s also a good facility as far as layout and space.”

Crews spent the day setting up hundreds cots and unloading food for the evacuees.

“We will be making sure that there is food in place for them, shower trailers, and toilets outside,” Bridges said.

Officials said there will also be a place for evacuees to keep their pets. They will have medical and mental health services available, as well.

Emergency management officials said this is the first time they have sheltered people in one big location in Durham.

Bridges said having one central location will be more beneficial to the evacuees.

“Anytime you can make one large shelter, compared to several smaller shelters, it gives you the ability to kind of pool your resources and make sure that you have everything that you need for people in the building,” Bridges said.