The terminal building at the former Sloulin Field airport will be the location for Williston’s 911 dispatch center.

Sloulin Field’s terminal building will soon be taking on a new role as the region’s 911 dispatch center.

At the Tuesday, Jan. 14 meeting of the Williston City Commission, Mayor Howard Klug addressed the commission, saying that over the last few years the city has outgrown its current 911 command center, as well as the Emergency Operations Center, which it shares with the county. Klug said that after he and Commissioner Tate Cymbaluk toured the current 911 facility last week, and that he was surprised at how crowded it was.

“People are pretty much sitting on top of each other,” Klug said. “One of the things that really concerned me is that if there’s more than one call coming in, the room is chaotic with people being able to communicate with officers in the field. So with that, we decided that we needed a new spot for a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) building.”

Klug said several different sites were considered, and added that studies had been done by the county, which recommended the dispatch center remain in its current location. Klug said that option wasn’t feasible, as there is no room for expansion at the facility. The best option, he said, was the terminal building at Sloulin Field. Klug said the plan is to retrofit the building into a 911 center, a PSAP center, as well as incorporating an Emergency Operations Center.

“There was a few different sites that we looked at, and it came back that this very well may be a long term option,” Cymbaluk said. “And if we have the ability to retrofit a building and save the potential cost of rehabbing it versus building new, and it fits for what Derrick (Walker) and his people for the 911 center, I think it’s a viable option. This is a start.”

Klug said the city was ready to move forward on the project as soon as possible, contingent upon approval from the city commission. Funding for the project is already in place, Klug added, and if approved would be presented to the county commission for approval. The commission voted unanimously to approve the motion.

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