Site selection is under way for an $18-million Emergency Services Operations Center in Williamson County. The facility will provide all neighboring emergency personnel, media, and government officials, including Homeland Security, with a protected hub or “war room” in which to respond to any serious disaster.

Preliminary plans for the compound incorporate advanced communications technology, independent power and water sources, administrative offices and more. The elements are designed to protect first responders and allow them to assess, manage and overcome local hazards and threats. The dual-purpose center, which is slated for completion in December 2012, will be available for employee training, meetings and public events.

The selected design team is Parsons Austin office, Calif.-based Leach Mounce Architects and Round Rock-based Moman Architects.