The combined Fire and Police Training Center in Round Rock Texas (near Austin) may cut current training cost by around $300,000. Earlier this year Interact Business Group completed a strategic business plan for the project that took into account existing training conditions, including travel to out of area training locations, staff overtime and equipment efficiencies. The combined training center project cost estimate is $38.3 million and is being planned for voter approval on November’s ballot as a bond issue.
“This is looking at the future of not only the police officers safety, but the citizens safety,” said Round Rock Police Training Sgt. Sean Johnson. “As we grow (population of more than 100,000), we need a training area to allow our officers to be the best that they can get.”
See the Sgt Sean Johnson interview and XKAN news report
Most, if not all, training would be done right on site, eliminating travel costs and time. It would also cut the cost of officers and firefighters being away from their regular posts.
It’s not just a dollar issue for the city’s emergency responders. “There are (high risk calls) that don’t happen in the real world every day,” Johnson said. “So, if we don’t practice those skills, it’s a perishable skill, then we’ll lose that skill set.”
The strategic plan identified several key factors in the analysis:
- What are the current and future training needs?
- What are the training need priorities?
- What will it cost to build the facility?
- What are the preliminary site plans and equipment requirements?
- What will it cost to annually operate the facility?
- What are the potential revenue opportunities from outside users?
- Are there possible partnering arrangements with other area departments?
- What is the cost benefit of a facility over existing conditions training?
A key training hurdle facing the departments was finding local public spaces for repetitive training. For example, fire trucks are forbidden from doing repeated driver exercises on open parking lot areas. That’s because the 80,000 pound vehicles tear up the pavement there.
“Having an area that’s designed specifically for that is going to be valuable,” said assistant chief Billy Wusterhausen.
Sandy Hook is an example of a mass casualty incident where first responders would be more effective if they had repeated training with other departments.
“As we grow out to that 250,000 population and we’re still the second safest city in the United States, we will have done it right,” Sgt. Johnson said.
Fire Chief David Coatney said depending on what Round Rock voters agree to, the build-out could happen in stages to spread out the cost over several years.
Some training elements being considered for the combined fire and police training center include:
- Firearms Complex
- Urban Training Area
- High Speed Driving Center
- Driver Avoidance Pad
- Live Fire Burn Training Rooms
- Multi-Story Tower
- Outside Training City Grid
- Technical Rescue Props
- Swift Water Rescue Prop
- Wildland Fire Training Area
Local Round Rock firm KAH Architecture and Interior Design assisted Interact Business Group in the development of the training center site layout.
To read more about similar police and fire department training center projects and more details about Strategic Business Planning Process follow the links below
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- Bill Booth Blog – Timely opinions and articles, on issues and comments about public safety training center management, funding and operations. Click here to read and get updates.
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