With only a few technical tasks to complete, the new $1.6 million Emergency Operations Center at 911 Chestnut St. is expected to go fully operational on May 15 with its new, highly sophisticated 911 digital technology.

If and when the service becomes available from carriers, the EOC will have the capability to receive texts to 911.

An open house is planned for the public on Sunday, May 4.

Emergency Management Director Jeff Mayo updated supervisors on the project Monday, saying he was waiting on the fiber optics to be completed between the EOC and the jail and from the EOC to the tower. The 911 equipment will be installed the week of April 29. That will be followed by optimizing the equipment and telecommunicator training.

Plans call for the 911 operations to be changed over from its present location at the jail to the adjacent EOC just east on Chestnut on May 15. The EOC is expected to begin dispatching Kemper County calls on June 3.

The May 4 open house and tours will be from 2 to 4 p.m.

Supervisors voted unanimously to provide up to $500 in funds to promote the EOC open house as part of the county's economic resources and to purchase refreshments and various supplies for the open house.

They also filed notice of substantial completion on the project.

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

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, Mayo had said.

This is an enhanced and more modern system than what is being used now by 911.

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

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.

The Neshoba County Board of Supervisors signed a memorandum of understanding last 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, which will increase by 5 percent the following year.

The EOC will house 911 communications, administrative offices, a so-called "war room," support space and storage.

In the center is an additional "safe room" with 12-inch blocks filled with concrete and reinforcement added to the walls and ceiling.

The safe room would have space to shelter up to 40 people when the new EOC opens.