JOLIET, Ill. — An emergency dispatch center linking 31 Will County communities began operations this week.

Officials say the opening of the 911 Dispatch Center and Emergency Telephone System Board marks one of largest consolidations in the state.

The center is on the first level of the new Public Safety Complex in Joliet. The building also houses a new sheriff’s facility and will be unveiled publicly in January.

Ray Tuminello is chairman of the Will County Board ‘s capital improvement committee. He says consolidating 911 emergency services means that “no matter the emergency, we have never been more prepared.”

The $33 million complex is 85,000 square feet (7,900 square meters). Construction began in October 2016.

Now officials will begin construction of a new downtown courthouse.

Joliet is 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.

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