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New emergency services center

August 12, 2005

Thomasville- A new emergency services center in Thomas County will be going online. County officials broke ground on it Friday morning.

The old buildings are beyond updating. Now chief, firefighter Bryan Croft lived in the old station before his promotion. "It was in need of upgrade, furniture, carpeting, which it still is," he says.

Croft's testimonial is proven by a tour of the old buildings. In the new facility, for example, the rest rooms will be more appropriate. The new ones don't offer much privacy. "You look toward the future and you get female firefighters, there's no privacy here," says Croft.

Unlike the old buildings, the new ones will have adequate training rooms. Right now, "We have a blackboard you can't even write on. You go over the streets and you go over everything, [on the maps] but you don't really have a comfortable environment for training and learning," says Croft.

The living room in the old station is, well, borderline unlivable considering the four firefighters who share it each shift. "If you're going to increase services, you got to increase manpower. You're not going to get more people in here comfortably," says Croft.

Those concerns will all be answered by the new facility. It will cost around one million dollars, half of which county commissioners say will be paid for with SPLOST money. "The county will then pick up the tab for the rest," says Commissioner, Mary Jo Beverly.

That's a big bill for a big project, one that is expected to take about a year to complete. "We are using inmate labor for this project, so that will certainly be slower than if we were doing it with a general contractor," says Beverly.

Those slow comings are ones Chief Croft says will be well worth the wait. "There comes a time when you put memories and tradition behind you a little bit and you start going towards the future. You can't progress and give better service if you don't look towards the future. The bottom line is, the guys deserve it," says Croft. So do the taxpayers commissioners say were promised it.

The new facility will also hold Thomas County's Emergency Operations Center. During crisis, officials currently have to setup shop in a conference room at the justice center.

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