The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), the new home for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), is among the first of a new generation of emergency operations facilities in the U.S. designed to coordinate responses to natural disasters and security or terrorist threats. Designing SEOC was an opportunity for the DeStefano Partners team and the State of Illinois to reinvent this type of facility with specific responses to both contemporary technology requirements and the human interactions that the technology supports. At the same time, the design is a positive and definitive statement about the value of the work that occurs within its walls.

This 60,000 sf building houses meeting and conference spaces, offices, computer labs, data centers, and mission-critical audio-visual and telecommunications facilities to expedite the administration, coordination and monitoring of the emergency efforts of 27 state agencies. Several factors drove DP’s design response:
- An extremely aggressive schedule, dictated by Department of Homeland Security funding deadlines;
- A desire to radically improve the working environment for the more than 50 IEMA employees, whose prior working conditions were located in a crowded basement, and create an environment where the permanent staff could work efficiently with the expanded staff of emergency responders.
- A desire to respond to demanding performance requirements in a creative, contemporary design.
?- A goal to deliver a secure building and site based on input / directions from the client.



Barbara Karant, Karant+Associates