By ALBERT VILLEGAS
The proposed Wharton County Sheriff’s emergency operations center building plans received Wharton City Council’s support last week.
The department envisions a 3,200-square-foot, single story building on the county jail grounds, 315 E. Elm in Wharton. The structure will include a training room for 32 participants, an emergency operations center and search bay.
The architectural plans created by Brad Cutright of Cutright & Prihoda required Wharton City Council to approve reducing its building setback requirements from 25 to 10 feet, a measure approved unanimously at the council’s last session.
The change allows the department to add 13 parking spaces in the project, set for completion next year.
Sheriff Shannon Srubar told council the variance request was for visibility at the jail entrance/exit, moving an existing fence about 50 feet.
The request also allows the department to work within its land limitations, Cutright said.
“To the north, the Viola Moss Estate has property that juts south onto the jail property. From what we understand, the county has tried unsuccessfully to purchase the property from the estate,” the architect adding it limits eastward expansion. “Permitting the EOC to be 10 feet from the street instead of 25 feet preserves land expansion of the jail at a future date.”
The setback change also keeps the structure the required distance from an existing fuel tank.
Wharton County Commissioners had already unanimously approved advertising for an EOC construction manager at risk during their last session.
The project’s building slab and the pre-engineered metal building frame were ordered before the current budget session started.
Commissioners budgeted $220,000 for an EOC in the FY 2021-22 budget, which began Oct. 1.