SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — The Hays County Public Safety building, part of a $106,400,000 investment, needs repairs after flooding caused by the severe winter weather.
It was built recently with bond money.
The damage has displaced essential dispatchers from their workspaces. They are now working out of a conference room in the county’s government center. They’re helping others with their disasters, as they deal with their own.
Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said the problem started after maintenance on the building’s HVAC system on the roof.
“Either the hatch didn’t get latched properly or something happened with the latch device… and then the storm hit,” Cutler said.
The pipes froze and burst, causing flooding and a generator issue at the 2-year-old building.
“This is a brand new building, and we invested all of this money with the bond. How does something like this happen?” KXAN Reporter Jala Washington asked.
“It was a fluke,” Cutler said. “It could’ve happened anywhere, whether the building was two months old or 10 years old.”
Cutler said no equipment was damaged, though it has been an adjustment for dispatchers.
“It’s different, because they’re set up on tables over there, and over here they’ve got all the new stuff and desk and equipment that’s surrounding them,” he said.
According to Hays County reports, 1,170 emergency calls came in between Feb. 12 and 18. Many were winter storm related.
Despite challenges, Cutler said they’ve made it work.
“We really didn’t miss a stroke,” he said.
Culter also told KXAN they now have more secure locking devices for the HVAC system. He said he expects dispatchers to be back in their communications room by Friday.