Thursday, September 26, 2002

Training center to ease pressure


New facility to focus on public safety

By Sue Kiesewetter, suek@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD TWP. — A year from now, students enrolled in Butler Technology and Career Development Schools' police academy won't have to go to the Turtle Creek Flea Market to practice defensive and pursuit driving.

        And they won't have to go to a Headgates Road firing range in a residential neighborhood to hone their sharpshooter skills.

        Construction of a Public Safety Services Training Center will consolidate programs at one central site while freeing up space at the D. Russel Lee Career-Technology Center.

        The training center will be built on a 44.6-acre site at the corner of Ohio 4 and Ohio 747 in Liberty Township, two miles north of the career center.

        “The No. 1 reason we're doing this is to improve the quality of service,” said Bob Somers, chief executive officer. “When you increase training you need more specialized facilities.”

        Enrollment in adult education has grown from 2,910 in the 2000-'01 school year to 4,709 last year, an increase of nearly 69 percent, said Donnia Trent, vice president of adult workforce education.

        That number is expected to increase by another 20 percent to 25 percent this year.

        “We are juggling classes. There are things going on constantly. So far we've done a decent job, but it's getting harder,” Ms. Trent said. “It's a nice problem to have because we're doing a good job.”

        Building a site exclusively for public safety will ease scheduling woes at the recently renovated and expanded main campus, which also houses high school students during the day.

        Design work will begin next week and should be completed by year's end, Mr. Somers said. Planned for the $7 million to $8 million facility is an underground firing range, three or more classrooms, a fire tower, burn building, driving track, skid pad and offices.

        Once an architect is selected and construction manager hired, exact plans and cost estimates will be prepared, said Jason Champagne, marketing coordinator. Groundbreaking could come as early as next March, with the facility operational by fall 2003.

        Fairfield Township Police Chief Richard St. John said he is looking forward to the opening of the training center. Most of the officers hired by the township in the last five years are graduates of the Basic Police Academy.

        “About 90 percent of our advanced and in-service training, including firearms, is through the Police Training Institute there,” Chief St. John said. “We are very excited they are going forward with a new and larger facility.”

       



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