Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- The Tulsa Fire Department plans to build a new fire training academy.
Voters approved the cost in 2005, but only now has the deal been finalized on a location, and the money set aside for construction.
It's going to be built near Apache and Harvard on the Tulsa Community College campus. The first phase will cost $12.5 million and take two years to build.
TFD says they've not only outgrown the building, their specialized responsibilities have outgrown what can fit into the existing space.
It now takes 9 weeks to rotate firefighters through a single day of training and with more space, firefighters from outside the city could get the training as well.
"We kind of give our people a crash course, but it would be safer for all firefighters to receive that training," said Assistant Tulsa Fire Chief Scott Clark.
Clark says the new academy will start with a training tower and mock fire station. The 6 story tower will allow training in everything from industrial to high rise settings.
The mock fire station will house the trucks used for training and allow a realistic look at how firefighters live.
Eventually, there's a plan to build a $5 million classroom building and install training props for aircraft and water rescue.
Now almost all of the realistic training the fire department does is off site - and that depends on when someone else is willing and available to let firefighters use their property.
With the new site at T-C-C, firefighters can take advantage of joint training through the college - and it would become a regional training site for more than just the City of Tulsa.
"I think the hope is that this partnership will see our instructors teaching an academy class, within TCC that meets our criteria and maybe others, and then they are certified if you will and then can be hired by us or someone else," Clark said.
The start of construction is still a couple of months away. Until the fire department gets the money for a new classroom building, they'll use classroom space at TCC.