NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - Big changes are happening for the Craven Communication Center in New Bern. Emergency service officials said years of planning are over and their new facility is up and running.
Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite said they started construction on the completely new state-of-the-art facility a little over a year ago.
"We had a lot of questions and reservations about all the cable cutting, transferring and moving of data. Our biggest fear was we did not want to lose any 911 calls and we didn't," he said.
Kite said on November 20th the new facility at the old jail on Craven Street, went live for the first time. He said they've added twice as many computers and surveillance monitors making it look much different from the small original facility.
"Well it's like moving from a one room house to a 14 room house," Kite explained.
Heather Shiers has been a Craven County dispatcher for five years and said she agrees. Shiers said after years of planning she is glad to finally have the elbow room she needs to do her job.
"It's a lot better. We have a lot more room, a lot more space to have our own area and it makes it easier to hear what's going on," she said.
Kite said this is the first phase of the project. He said the Emergency Services Administration Office is moving on the same floor as well as opening a new training room for employees. Kite said emergency responders have the tools they need to get the job done.
"It's going to minimize any delays as far as the caller calling in to the point of contact of whatever resource agency you're looking for," he explained.
The center serves a total of 14 fire departments and 12 rescue agencies. It also provides service to places like Trent Woods, River Bend, Vanceboro and Bridgeton that do not have their own communication center.