With 74 percent of construction completed, Neshoba County is in the process of purchasing new digital technology systems for the new $1.6 million Emergency Operation Center, which will include texting capability to 911 when the service becomes available from carriers.

The new technology comes with a $213, 227.14 price tag, to be funded by the county through 911.

Neshoba County was awarded a $976,800 grant by the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, on behalf of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, to construct the EOC.

In addition, the county received a $233,267 federal matching grant to harden the exterior wall, roof, windows and doors.

The grants require a 25 percent match by the county.

The construction phase of the EOC is expected to be completed by Feb. 1.

The county purchased the Next Generation-911 System for the new EOC at a cost $178,000, which is $10,000 less than what was originally expected, said Emergency Management Director Jeff Mayo.

This is an enhanced and more modern system than what is being used now by 911, which is currently housed in the county jail.

"The new system is built on an I.P. platform which means it is now all digital," Mayo said.

When it becomes available from carriers, residents will be able to send texts to 911.

The county paid $35,127.14 for the Orion Aries CAD System which is a more updated dispatch software than what is currently in use.

When the EOC facility is operational, it will receive and dispatch 911 calls not only from Neshoba County, but also for Kemper County. Discussions are also ongoing about adding the city of Philadelphia.

"We are currently working on getting set up with the 911 dispatch," Philadelphia Mayor James Young said. "We are waiting to see what the new chief wants and how he wants it done."

County Administrator Benjie Coats said 911 would employ the same number when the EOC becomes operational. However, more employees would be required should the city of Philadelphia be added.

The Neshoba County Board of Supervisors signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year to provide the services to Kemper County, including its sheriff and police departments, volunteer fire protection districts and ambulance services, among others.

In return, Kemper will pay Neshoba County $60,000 for the first year of operation. That annual charge will increase 5 percent for each of the following years.

The EOC, being constructed off Chestnut Street near the county jail, will house 911 communications, administrative offices, a so-called "war room," support space and storage.

The construction phase has employed a total of 17 through Tyler Construction Group of Philadelphia and subcontractors, McLain Plumbing, Ratcliff Electrical and Dynamic Fire Protection.

To date, metal studs, insulation and sheetrock have been installed as well as the fire protection sprinklers.

All wall mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are in place. The ceiling mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are almost completely installed.

The primary roof is being installed and the secondary roof and windows are already in place.

Concrete sidewalks are being poured and an asphalt parking lot will soon be poured.

In the near future, sheetrock walls will be finished and painted and the HVAC unit and electrical gear will be set in place