Minnesota builds new emergency management operations center in Blaine

An architectural rendering of a building
A rendering of the new state emergency operations center building, which will be built in Blaine, Minn. The building will house the state's Homeland Security and Emergency Operations offices, and be the central hub for any statewide emergencies.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Construction is starting on the state’s new emergency management operations center in Blaine, Minn.

The new $41 million building will replace the current operations center, which is located in downtown St. Paul. It’s expected to be completed sometime in 2025.

“An emergency operations center must be able to address the characteristics of survivability, security, sustainability, interoperability and flexibility,” said Kristi Rollwagen, the director of the state's Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“This new $41 million facility has taken each one of these into consideration and will not only meet but exceed the expectation.”

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People shovel dirt
Governor Tim Walz , center, is joined by other state leaders and emergency management staff, in the groundbreaking of the new state emergency operations center in Blaine. The facility is expected to be complete in 2025.
Peter Cox

Governor Tim Walz said the new facility will be a big upgrade from the current offices. 

“In that small space, downtown St. Paul, the limitations in the existing one, first and foremost is, it's in a tight urban area, which means it's easily accessible from the streets, especially if there were threats to that,” he said. “It also is in a place where communications were difficult, it was cramped for space.”

The new center, which is located in a far less populated area of Blaine, will be 3,700 square feet and have offices for 65 employees from the state office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, but will also have room to house 150 more people if and when emergencies call for that kind of staffing.

“Minnesotans don't ever want to have to see this facility used,” Walz said. “They don't ever want to have to have a tornado, a flood of fire, a pandemic, or anything else, like we've witnessed a manmade disaster, but they happen and to be prepared and to see all of the modern telecommunications that need to happen, all of the coordination that happens.”

Tables and maps.
The State Emergency Operations Center in St. Paul was used in 2020 for communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evan Frost | MPR News file