A rendering shows the new Regional Operations and Communications (ROC) facility that is being built on Winchester Road west of Route 21 in Libertyville. | Provided Photo

Crews have begun construction on a 37,000-square-foot 911 dispatch facility in Libertyville that will consolidate services and allow Lake County first responders to respond quicker.

The 37,426 square-foot facility, termed the Regional Operations and Communications (ROC), will be built next to the Lake County Central Permit Facility off Winchester Road west of Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville.

The facility is designed to house consolidated Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP), the County’s Emergency Management Agency and supporting staff and technologies.

Many cities and towns in Lake County will house their 911 dispatchers at the building.

Officials say it will bring together highly trained experts and state-of-the-art technology to coordinate resources, information and emergency communications and management under one roof.

“The Regional Operations and Communications (ROC) Facility is a critically important infrastructure project that will enable our first responders – law enforcement, fire, EMS, and dispatch – to respond more quickly to emergency events across Lake County and the region,” Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart said.

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“The ROC Facility will be a model of excellence and will bring greater coordination and collaboration between the vital agencies who are dedicated to serving our Lake County residents,” Hart said.

Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg said this is a “very exciting day” for Lake County.

Lake Zurich Police Chief and Lake County ETSB Chair Steve Husak, U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider, Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart, Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg and Greater Round Lake Fire Protection Chief Greg Formica (left to right) attend a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at the new Regional Operations and Communications (ROC) in Libertyville. | Provided Photo

“The ROC is coming to fruition thanks to countywide stakeholders and legislators who have a strong desire to keep the community safe. This building will house dedicated staff who will utilize the most state-of-the-art public safety technology. We are very proud and thrilled to see ground broken on what will be an incredible public safety facility,” Idleburg said.

There are an average of 85,000 emergency calls every year in Lake County. 7,000 of those calls require mutual aid from surrounding agencies.

Officials say valuable minutes can be lost, leading to emergency response delays, every time a call is transferred.

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“When responding to a public safety emergency, minutes matter,” Greater Round Lake Fire Protection Chief Greg Formica said.

“This new facility will bring the necessary resources to the right place in the shortest amount of time, providing for the best possible outcome. In the end, this can be lifesaving,” Formica said.

Coordination between community partners is critical when responding to emergency events, whether local or regional, officials said.

The new facility will allow participating agencies to have an “unprecedented opportunity” for seamless information sharing and collaboration between first responders.

“The Lake County Emergency Telephone System Board (LCETSB) has always supported the concept of consolidating ETSB, 9-1-1 and EMA into one facility,” said Lake Zurich Police Chief and Lake County ETSB Chair Steve Husak.

“Because these independent entities will share one space, there will be collaboration among dispatch, law enforcement, fire, EMS, and other first responders. This will lead to a more effective public safety response for the participating partners and the communities they serve,” Husak said.

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Funding for the facility comes from a $1 million grant obtained by U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider, $2 million from the Illinois Clean Energy Communities Foundation Grant, $5 million from Lake County Emergency Telephone System Board commitment, $30 million from the Lake County General Obligation Bond approved by the Lake County Board and additional funding contributed through Lake County’s Capitol program and the American Rescue Plan Act.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by December 2024 and open in 2025.

Regional 9-1-1 Consolidation Partners and the Lake County Board gathered Friday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the facility.