College holds ribbon cutting for new Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility
SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College held its final 50th anniversary celebration event with a ribbon cutting of the new Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility at the College’s December board of trustees meeting.
Local officials, county commissioners and public safety personnel from across the region joined the College in this important ribbon cutting. The Fire & Emergency Services Training Facility was the first project to be completed in a series of Rowan County-bond funded construction projects that will take place over the next few years. The College was able to both break ground and complete this project in 2013, during the College’s 50th anniversary.
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 includes a 3,500 square foot burn building, training pads for various props, and a future 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. “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.”
In 2013, over 221,000 hours of training were provided by the College for more than 22,000 individuals. Over 7,000 certifications were awarded to fire, emergency medical services (EMS), and law enforcement personnel during the past year. Rowan-Cabarrus expects that the number of training hours will continue to grow with the new facility.
“The investment by the County in this training facility has potential impact for every citizen in Rowan County for personal safety and security. 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,” said Jim Sides, chair of the Rowan County Commission. “I look forward to seeing this facility used frequently by all agencies to support the quality of life that we enjoy in Rowan County.”
“The safety of our citizens is important to all of us,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees. “Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is proud to have the role of training and re-training each and every one of these important public servants. Without their tireless and selfless work, our community would be at a distinct disadvantage.”
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.
“The new facility not only represents an improved physical space and high-quality burn building, but the dedicated acreage offers an opportunity for expanded props and structures that can truly create a resource that will serve your community for years to come,” said Rick McIntyre, assistant state fire marshal and senior deputy commissioner for the NC Department of Insurance, who spoke at the ribbon cutting. “The planned addition of railroad cars to your site will create unique training opportunities for many personnel throughout the state, and I commend you for the partnerships with Norfolk Southern and GATX that made these props possible.”
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.
The College was ultimately donated both an actual box car from Norfolk Southern and an oil tanker from GATX. This is the first donation of this kind by Norfolk Southern for training purposes. This rail equipment will help establish a unique and authentic training experience for our fire and emergency personnel.
“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.
The facility will need to cure for several months before it will be operational. The College is eager to begin training and plans to invite the community to see the grounds in 2014. Sponsors for the ribbon cutting included Moseley Architects, ECS Carolinas, and EVS Construction & Development.
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 a former 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 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 the new space, and then renovate the older buildings. Unfortunately, the funding is just not available 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 2015.
“Our students were very passionate about this $12 million bond, and took it upon themselves to 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.”
For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).