Local leaders and firefighters from across the region joined Rowan-Cabarrus Community College officials last month to break ground on a new Fire and Emergency Services Training Facility.
The project is the first in a series of Rowan County-bond funded construction projects worth $12 million that will take place the next few years on the college’s Salisbury campus. Officials expect the training facility to be finished this summer; a grand opening has been planned for Sept. 30.
Firefighters and EMS workers throughout the region are expected to use the training facility, which will include a 3,500-square-foot burn building and mock fire station, as well as a driving course for fire and emergency vehicles, among other props.
“The Fire and Emergency Services Training Facility will afford our public safety providers with real-life training scenarios that will ensure that our law, fire and emergency personnel are prepared to protect our community in the event of fires, hazardous materials emergencies, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents and train derailments,” said Dr. Carol Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.
In 2012, RCCC provided more than 215,000 hours of training to more than 16,000 individuals. More than 2,700 certifications were awarded to area fire and EMS personnel. College officials expect that number to grow with the addition of the new facility.
“The safety of our citizens is important to all of us,” said Carl Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees. “The training provided to our paid and volunteer departments ensures that our communities maintain insurance ratings that keep our taxes affordable while simultaneously equipping our emergency responders with state-of-the-art training.”
The new training facility will include several props that simulate critical incidents and emergencies, as well as natural and man-made disasters.
Public safety personnel require training to respond to rail and train emergencies, and hazardous material spills. Norfolk Southern donated a box car to install as a prop.
“Additionally, Norfolk Southern referred us to GATX, who has also agreed to donate an oil tanker for the same purpose,” said Jeanie Moore, vice president of advancement and continuing education. “This rail equipment will help establish a unique and authentic training experience for our fire and emergency personnel”
This is the first donation of this kind by Norfolk Southern for training purposes.
“We hope that this contribution will be the beginning of a valuable partnership between the college and Norfolk Southern as the college increases its capacity to provide valuable training to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens and the community,” said Short.
In addition to the training facility, the planned renovation and construction projects include a 30,000-square-foot addition – with 18 new classrooms – to the existing Allied Health building.
“We are being very purposeful and diligent with the $12 million provided in the 2010 Rowan County bond referendum,” said Spalding. “We will gain critical space for instruction and the expansion of new health programs.”
The college also will increase accessibility to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
The college must stagger its renovations to minimize disruption to classes. The addition and renovations to the college’s Allied Health building are not expected to be complete until 2014.
“Our students were very passionate about this $12 million bond, and took it upon themselves to advocate (for it) on behalf of the college to their families, friends and neighbors,” said Short. “Their efforts were so impressive that the North Carolina Community College System awarded them the Top C award for excellent student leadership and involvement.”
For more details, call 704-216-7222 or visit www.rccc.edu.
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