Groundbreaking for the new Independence Communications Center, which will serve as the new home for police and fire dispatch, is scheduled for Oct. 16.

The City Council on Monday approved the construction manager at-risk contract with McGownGordon for $3.187 million. The 6,000-square foot building will be located just south of the Utilities Center off 23rd Street.

The city has appropriated $4.8 million for the project – $3.5 in tax increment financing funds and the rest from the police and fire public safety sales tax funds. According to city information, the estimated total cost is just below $4.77 million, which includes design costs with Hoefer Wysocki Architects, land costs, radio tower and electronics, communications equipment and furniture.

The new dispatch center will have 14 consoles, a training room with multiple locations, a 200-kilowatt backup generator and a 120-foot radio tower, and the design allows for possible future expansion for 10 more consoles if needed. The city already owned the necessary acre of land from the Utilities Center project, so those costs will be transferred to the Power & Light fund.

The at-risk contract means McGownGordon works with the architects to complete the project for the cost of the work, but for no greater than the guaranteed maximum price, and it holds the risk of cost overruns if that price is exceeded. The city used this approach for the Utilities Center that was completed last year.

The current dispatch center is in the basement of the Central Police Building constructed in the early 1970s, covering just less than 1,800 square feet. That space has long become cramped, and the layout offered limited options to modernize and improve.

A remodeling project for the dispatch center had been slated when the safety sales taxes first were approved by voters in 2004, but plans got mothballed due to revenue shortfalls.