REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The County of San Mateo’s Regional Operations Center – now serving as the hub for the countywide response to the COVID-19 pandemic – has achieved LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system. It provides verification that the Regional Operations Center, or ROC, was designed and built using strategies that matter.

“All I can say is congratulations to everyone who had a hand in planning, designing and building the ROC,” said County Manager Mike Callagy. “We hit a grand slam with the ROC: it’s seismically safe, it’s energy efficient, it’s a great place to work and it’s serving every member of our community during this pandemic.”

The two-story ROC opened late last year on the County Center campus in downtown Redwood City.

Today, it houses the daily offices of the Sheriff’s Area Office of Emergency Services (OES), a secure data center and Public Safety Communications, which until the move into the ROC operated the County’s 9-1-1 dispatch from the basement of the 1950’s Hall of Justice. It also now serves as the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Joint Information Center (JIC) since the outset of the pandemic.

Planning and design work on the ROC began years ago as County officials determined the need for a single facility that would serve as the daily offices for emergency services and 9-1-1 dispatch with the flexibility to operate around-the-clock in the case of a disaster or major emergency.

Funding for the $64.5 million ROC comes almost exclusively from Measure K, the countywide half-cent sales tax first approved in 2012 (as Measure A) and renewed in 2016 (Measure K). When the Board of Supervisors placed the measure on the ballot, a priority was repairing or replacing critical facilities.

Crews began dismantling the motor pool and preparing the site for construction in June 2016 and work began in 2017 to build the foundation.

The building begins to take shape as workers install the steel framework.
The building begins to take shape as workers install the steel framework.
Public Safety 9-1-1 Dispatchers have all-new communications stations in the new building.
Public Safety 9-1-1 Dispatchers have all-new communications stations in the new building.
The ROC under construction; plenty of windows allow natural light into the interior.
The ROC under construction; plenty of windows allow natural light into the interior.
A look inside the ROC during the first days of the coronavirus outbreak.
A look inside the ROC during the first days of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ROC received LEED points for energy efficiency and its proximity to public transportation.
The ROC received LEED points for energy efficiency and its proximity to public transportation.

Following the declaration of a local emergency in early March due to the coronavirus, the ROC has fulfilled the role as the countywide center for the response.

Emergency responders working in the ROC have included staff from the County Manager’s Office, County Health, Human Services Agency, Sheriff’s Office, Department of Housing and others along with allied agencies including CalFire and local city departments, the San Mateo County Office of Education and California National Guard, among others.

Daily staffing, including in the County’s JIC within the ROC, is now minimal with most staff working remotely to avoid close contact. Building the ROC was coordinated by the County’s Project Development Unit. The design-build team was comprised of McCarthy Building and AECOM.