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Wisconsin Architect Magazine
Wisconsin Architect E-News Archive: Mosaic February 2009

Waukesha County Communications Center

Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios
Contractor: Reichl Construction

The rural communities of Waukesha County joined forces to build a combined radio dispatch and 911 call center for fire, police and emergency medical personnel.

The dispatch center requires readily available technology, regardless of the events occurring outside its walls. Protection from natural and man-made catastrophes was a crucial design element.

The pooled resources allowed the purchase of the latest technological systems, including an enhanced 911 call system, which helps dispatchers locate people calling from cellular phones. Waukesha County dispatchers will not only be able to locate callers more easily, but they will also be able to understand them better thanks to the installation of a language translator.

Since the employees are not allowed to leave the building during their eight hour shifts, the indoor air quality is constantly monitored.

Clerestory windows around the central dispatch floor allow natural light deep into the building without compromising security. The consideration for comfort, however, did not stop in the large spaces, but rather drove the ideas for the individual workstations.

The desks and chairs are ergonomically designed, and each worker controls his heating, cooling, light levels, fan speed and white noise levels making both the building and the worker more efficient.

The center utilizes modern technologies and natural advantages to minimize its effects on the environment. Servicing nearly 30 communities from one building avoided the necessity of constructing many other less effective buildings.

Photography: Greg Gent Studio



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