Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Breaks Ground On New Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility


“The Fire & 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.”

SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College broke ground on its new Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility at the college’s January board of trustees meeting. Local officials, county commissioners and firefighters from across the region joined the college in this important groundbreaking.

The project is the first in a series of Rowan County-bond funded construction projects that will take place over the next few years.

The new Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility will serve an important role for training local public safety providers who protect citizens every day. The facility will include a 3,500 square foot burn building and mock fire station for training purposes. Training pads for various props and a driving course for fire and emergency vehicles will be included in the project.

“It is our goal to be responsive, flexible, innovative, and efficient, as we work together to create a safer and more secure environment,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

In 2012, over 215,000 hours of training was provided by the college for more than 16,000 individuals. Over 2,700 certifications were awarded to fire and EMS personnel in our community. Rowan-Cabarrus expects that the number of training hours will continue to grow with the new facility.

“The safety of our citizens is important to all of us,” said Carl M. 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 Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility will include several props that allow for the simulation of critical incidents, emergencies, and natural and man-made disasters.

Public safety personnel require training to respond to rail and train emergencies involving railroad accidents, hazardous material spills, derailments, etc. Because the railroad has such a vital and important history of operations and service in the local community, the college made a written request to Norfolk Southern for consideration for a donation of an actual box car to install as a prop.

“We are pleased to announce that we have been designated to receive a boxcar for this purpose,” said Jeanie Moore, vice president of advancement and continuing education. “Additionally, Norfolk Southern referred us to GATX who has also agreed to donate an oil tanker for the same purpose. 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.

Special thanks was given to Paul Brown, college trustee and foundation board member, who helped identify the appropriate contact at Norfolk Southern to make this donation a reality.

In addition to the Fire & Emergency Services 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 (Building 600).

“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 is also transforming an administrative building into instructional use, as well as increasing the accessibility of North Campus to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

“Retrofit of existing infrastructure will pose challenges. Space is at a premium at the college which makes renovations difficult as you have to move classes out of buildings and find new temporary homes for them,” said Jonathan Chamberlain, chief officer of planning, capital projects and environmental operations. “Ideally, when space is tight, you construct a new building, move staff and students into it, then renovate the older buildings, however the funding is just not there to construct an entirely new building.”

The college must stagger its renovations to minimize disruption to classes. Consequently, the addition and renovations to the college’s allied health building will not be complete until 2014.

“Our students were very passionate about this $12 million bond, and took it upon themselves advocate 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.”

The college hopes to complete the Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility in summer 2013, with a grand opening scheduled for September 30, 2013.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

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