PWA 02377 00 N22

Public Safety Communications Center

Location Tacoma, WA

Client South Sound 911

Services Construction Management, Project Management

Project Value $59 million

Hill provided project management support for South Sound 911’s new Public Safety Operations Center (PSOC) in Tacoma, WA. Born from the collaborative efforts of Pierce County’s 911 call centers, local governments, and the public, South Sound 911 consolidates six separate emergency services into a single system. The new PSOC gives a home to the agency and helps South Sound 911 achieve its mission of providing a modern, unified emergency communication and response system to protect and serve its communities and partner agencies. The South Sound 911 PSOC evolved over nearly 10 years of planning. Through this process, South Sound 911’s key goals for the project emerged. These included delivering a facility to:

  • Enable South Sound 911 to provide exceptional emergency services to Pierce County.
  • Support collaboration among the different emergency services agencies South Sound 911 encompasses.
  • Expand agency technological capacity and facilitate operational growth.
  • Provide a welcoming and secure space for visitors and employees.

The 74,500 SF, 3-story, state-of-the-art PSOC is a regional 911 communications center providing 24-hour emergency services for communities and first responders throughout Pierce County. Designed to ensure survivability and continuity of operations in the event of man-made or natural disasters, this secure and hardened facility meets National Fire Protection Association, National Emergency Number Association, and Federal Emergency Management Agency standards for essential facilities. Functionally, the PSOC includes 911 and dispatch operations, a public safety answering point providing improved police and fire emergency communications, a municipal emergency operations center, administrative offices, and a public counter area for law enforcement records management.

The South Sound 911 Board of Directors partnered with designer CallisonRTKL and contractor Kassel & Associates to deliver the project. A management team led by Hill International worked with South Sound 911 and the project team to realize the new PSOC as envisioned. Hill provided project management, construction management, and owner’s representative services from the design phase through project closeout and warranty.

During construction, Hill provided project management, construction management oversight, project schedule and budget reviews, inspection and testing, and building and technology systems commissioning activities. A key element of the Hill team’s approach to handling challenges such as COVID-19 was their formal stakeholder management and communications process. This involved working directly with key decision makers to keep everyone informed and up to date on obstacles and offering potential solutions.

Other construction challenges included tight scheduling. Getting the call center portion of the project up and running as early as possible was a priority. Hill worked with the project team, as well as vendors and sub-contractors to overcome the pandemic’s impact and realize this priority. Specifically, Hill helped define and manage the project schedule in alignment with South Sound 911’s goals, procured and tracked long-lead items early, and coordinated with the team to get vendors into the call center space as soon as they could. After partial move-in, Hill continued working with the contractor to ensure construction could proceed safely and without disrupting operations. Hill also worked with South Sound 911 to respond to any staff concerns during this period.

Similarly, building, technology, and communication systems commissioning activities during and following construction proved challenging. Due to construction delays related to the pandemic, the team commissioned systems on a floor-by-floor basis to get everything up and running and allow for partial occupancy. This required isolating each floor, then coming together at the end to make sure everything was working together as originally designed.