Before Sandy Springs has opened its new City Hall at City Springs, it is already considering building new “emergency operations” and 911 backup centers there next year at an estimated cost of $1.25 million.

City Manager John McDonough proposed the new facilities at a May 1 city budget hearing. Both would be built on the fourth floor of the new City Hall, and both would relocated from current facilities provided by the city’s private 911 service, the Chattahoochee River 911 Authority or ChatComm.

Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough

The $750,000 emergency operations center would relocate from ChatComm’s facility at Mount Vernon Highway and Barfield Road. The center is used to direct response to such events as major storms.

“Our center of gravity, if you will, is going to be the City Springs facility,” said McDonough, so he feels “strongly” that the center should be located there.

Also proposed is a $500,000 new backup center for ChatComm’s 911 operators. McDonough said that a 911 outage about nine months ago forced the operators to make a 30-minute trip to the current backup center in Alpharetta. The city did not immediately respond to questions about that outage or why the backup center is so far away.

ChatComm is a private 911 service operated in partnership by the cities of Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Johns Creek. McDonough said that the 911 backup center, at least, would need approval from those other cities. Officials in the other cities did not immediately respond to questions.

City Springs is a $229 million mixed-use civic center opening in stages this year on a site bounded by Roswell Road, Johnson Ferry Road, Sandy Springs Circle and Johnson Ferry Road.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.