On August 28, 2008, just 14 days short of the seventh year anniversary of the 9/11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil, the first phase of the Kalamazoo Regional Police and Fire Training Center was dedicated at 911 Training Center Boulevard in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During the attacks in 2001, first responders—represented by law enforcement, fire, military, rescue, private citizens and K-9 units—arose to selflessly and heroically risk and sacrifice their lives to help their fellow citizens.
This same year, 2001, the City and County of Kalamazoo, City of Portage, City of Oshtemo, Kalamazoo Township, Western Michigan University, and the Kalamazoo Community College came together to investigate the need, potential location and cost to build and operate a regional public-safety training academy. Their vision was to provide men and women in uniform with the best training concepts and practices possible in order to confront violence, crime and tragedy with skill and courage, often in the face of great personal danger. They recognized that a first responder’s skill, sensitivity and ethics depend in large part on the quality of their training and the depth of their leadership skills. And they asked the Interact Business Group to develop the project’s strategic business plan. The Interact Business Group is no new comer to the public safety training center arena. The company brought to the table years of experience in writing public safety training center plans from all agencies—large, small, metropolitan, rural and volunteer. Their Business Plan Process© seven-step method provided the critical steps necessary for success. Each Partner was assessed for current and future needs for both training facilities and equipment and their specific requirements determined. A detailed analysis regarding the efficiency of co-location of the facilities was thoroughly investigated. And on August 28, the vision of these communities became a reality. Many individuals and agencies collectively donated more than 1.9 million dollars to complete the construction of this first phase of the Kalamazoo Regional Training Center campus. Per Kalamazoo’s Fire Marshall (Department of Public Safety) Marty Myers, the proposed $10 million center would be constructed in the following phases:
- Live Fire Training
- Ice/Water Rescue Pond
- Tanker Fire Training
- Car Fire Training
- Modular Classroom
- Indoor Training Building
- Police, Fire and K-9 Agility Course
- Driving Track
- (Used for police, fire medical and school/Metro bus training)
- Indoor Fire Arms Range
(Photo taken by Technician David Thomas)
Marshall Myers was honored at the event for his 12 years of unflagging commitment to the creation of the facility. Celebrating with him was a large crowd and many public officials, including Kalamazoo’s County Sheriff Mike Anderson and Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Department of Public Safety Chief Jeffrey Hadley, and U.S. Representative Fred Upton. Marshall Myers assisted with extinguishing the first fire initiated in the new WHP fire-training tower. The training tower is designed to simulate life-like fires for state-of-the-art training for the firefighters and public safety officers of Kalamazoo. The tower’s many adjustable mazes and rooms, elevator, and high-rise building provide opportunity for first responders and SWAT teams to practice rescues and rappelling procedures. With a vision of working toward completion, Marshall Myers announced at the dedication that the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority provided a $25,000 grant toward finishing the project and that Federal funds had been secured for the construction of the 6,000sf Indoor Training Building. Other components of the facility will be built as funds become available. With his vision finally becoming reality, Marty Myers retired a week following the celebratory event. (Photo taken by Technician David Thomas)
The Interact Business Group is honored to have participated in the success of the KRTC project. IBG’s future goal is to continue to assist public safety agencies create the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art training center plans possible, so that first responders will be best prepared to protect the people, property and borders of our Homeland, the United States of America.
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