See how Xybix helped Lafayette Parish create the best environment, accommodate the best equipment and provide the best consoles for their greatest asset—the 911 operators who help keep their community safe.
Xybix co-owner Kenny Carson has more than a quarter century of experience in reviewing and outfitting 911 dispatch centers. But he was so impressed by the scope and ingenuity of the new Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, Communications Center that he personally interviewed the Director Craig Stansbury and Assistant Director Linda Lavergne. Watch the videos or see what he learned here.
LAFAYETTE PARISH PROFILE
The Mission. “Every 911 operator, every dispatcher, every first responder needs the best,” says Craig Stansbury, director of the Communications Center. “The best environment and the best equipment to service their people.” This includes their dispatch furniture because, as Linda Lavergne, assistant director explains, “The console is their little home.” Craig and Linda set out to create the best in their new building, from top to bottom, and from the outside to the inside.
The Scope. Back in 1983, Lafayette Parish started its 911 dispatch center in a retrofitted bomb shelter in the basement of the courthouse. Although they made the space—commonly known as the “dungeon”—work for nearly 40 years, community leaders were keenly aware of population growth and technology changes. In 1986, the parish launched a Future Projects Fund with income from a surcharge on any device capable of dialing 911, and by 2015 they had the funds available to start designing and building their own center. The new 23,000-square-foot, $10 million building is designed for growth and intended to meet the needs of the community for at least 25 years.
Special Features. Lafayette Parish lies in a hurricane zone and the Communications Center doubles as the local Office of Homeland Security. As a result, the new center was built with emergency preparedness in mind. While the property is not in a flood zone, the building is still elevated and built to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. Built-in redundancy ensures no downtime, including phone lines from two companies entering the building at two different locations; cloud-based, reliable and secure CAD that operators can log into from anywhere; and two emergency generators, one diesel and one natural gas. The center can sustain itself for two weeks with no outside services thanks to the inclusion of dorms for sleeping, showers, washer/dryer, kitchen, exercise equipment and plenty of storage space stocked with PPE, MREs, bottled water and masks.
The Design Process. To get started on designing the new center, Lafayette Parish staff visited other centers for inspiration, attended trade shows and consulted public safety partners. “We’re a tightknit group in public safety and we love to share with each other,” says Craig Stansbury, the director and manager of the new building project. But most importantly, they engaged the operators who actually use the space. “People are our greatest asset,” says Linda Lavergne, assistant director. “We asked them what would make their jobs better. We want to take care of our people to serve Lafayette well.” While designing the center—including the layout and console selection—they listened to the people who sit in the room, at the consoles, for 12-hour shifts over 3 or 4 days. Listening to the people led directly to Xybix for both the quality of the consoles and the assistance with layout.
Why Xybix. Knowing that consoles last 15 to 20 years, Lafayette Parish started researching furniture vendors early in the process with ergonomics, durability and service as key considerations. When a team evaluated the RFPs, Xybix came out on top—and working with the company showed why.
First, operators found all the console features they wanted, including sit-to-stand flexibility, dual-surfaces, task lighting and personal climate controls. Second, with Xybix, what you see is what you get—literally. A Xybix designer brought the operators’ vision to life with renderings that detailed the layout, consoles, fabrics and colors for the finishes, walls and carpet. “Xybix showed us exactly what it would look like—in our colors—and that really hit home with us,” says Craig.
Xybix served as a true partner in the design and layout phase, first by listening and understanding the center’s needs, and then offering advice based on years of experience in both dispatch centers and interior design. Ultimately, the unique layout of the new center reflects what the employees wanted—curved consoles in pods on the sides with straight consoles for supervisors in the center to expedite communications. As the population continues to grow, the space and layout will accommodate additional operators and consoles.
“It’s something new,” admits Craig of the layout, “But this center is for the operators. They were confident and adamant that this would be the best layout. That’s what we went with and we are very pleased we did.”
Results. “We wanted the best for our operators, and I really think we got the best for them with Xybix,” says Craig. Freed from their underground space and now able to sit, stand, adjust their lighting and temperature, Linda says employees “feel really good, really happy with the new work environment.” Three operators with nearly 50 years of combined experience shared what they love about the new center: Mosella calls the ability to stand a “godsend” as it takes the weight off her back, Brittany loves the task lighting and temperature controls, and Christine appreciates the ergonomics of the curved consoles. “You can do your job better and stay healthier,” says Christine.
With the new Communications Center, Lafayette Parish definitely set up their operators for success in serving the community for decades to come.
Want to Learn More? Xybix 1-Minute Quick Takes translate console features into solutions for your center: