Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2013 Vol. 60 No. 10

Texas Emergency Management and State Operations Center History Part II

Construction of the SOC expansion

In Part I of the history of the State Operations Center, we introduced you to the original Texas Emergency Operations Center, which opened in 1964. Since then, the SOC has been continually updated and has undergone two major renovations. Part II gives you a glimpse of the first renovation and expansion and what the SOC looked like through the 1990s.

1964 - The Emergency Operating Center opens.   The 12,000 square foot State EOC was carved from limestone and caliche, 26 feet below the new DPS Headquarters building in Austin.  The EOC was designed to resist the structural effects of a 20-megaton blast about 5 miles distant.  It featured shock-absorbing sprint to protect all breakable fixtures including lights and plumbing, 2,500lb entrance doors constructed of lead encased steel, and a single door weighing 10,000lbs to shut off a rear service entrance. 

Construction Construction Construction

The EOC contained a kitchen and decontamination facilities, as well as an emergency backup for water, cooling/heating, electricity, lighting and communications.  Its focal point was a council room intended to function as the state’s nerve center during disaster operations. EOC communications were equipped with what was then considered state of the art radio and teletype facilities.


1973 - The Disaster Control Center is renamed the State Emergency Operating Center.  The Texas Disaster Act (Senate Bill 786, 63rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session) broadens the functions of the Division of Defense and Disaster Relief.

1979 - By executive orders, President Jimmy Carter creates the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

1992 - The State Emergency Operating Center is expanded and renovated, nearly doubling its size. Much of the 28 year old equipment is replaced with "enhanced weather tracking, computer mapping, and status information."

Layout plans of the expanded SOC

Renovations to the State Operations Center begin in June 1991. The remodeled SOC will have almost twice as much space as before when completed. The new design will retain many of the features that were installed in the original facility, like the radiation proof blast doors.

The old council room is expanded into a 2,500 square foot operations/council room and has automated data and graphics displays, new telephones, along with a local area network computer system.

Renovations and improvements also are made to the SOC's outdated plumbing, electrical wiring, fixtures, walls and floors.

1995 - The The Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City is bombed. 168 people are killed, including 19 children under age six.

2001 - September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas during re-entry.

Conference in the SOC council room Governor Bush addresses the council A meeting in the SOC council room

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