Fort Smith Police and Fire Departments Offer $ 10.8 Million Training Facility

FORT SMITH – Police and fire departments have pledged to pool their resources to build a multi-million dollar facility that they believe could serve a variety of functions.

The city’s board of directors was informed of the 2022 general fund equipment replacement plan during its study session on Tuesday. This included separate police and fire reports detailing general fund needs over the next 10 years, which included the construction of an estimated $ 10.8 million public safety training center and a center. communication that both departments could use.

The facility, which is in the planning stages, would represent an approximately 45,000 square foot building in the fire department training center at 5901 Commerce Road, according to Fire Chief Phil Christensen on Friday. The fire and police services are now using this facility for hands-on training, as they have a firing range there.

The police department has been looking for a new training facility for years, Police Chief Danny Baker said on Friday. Officers are now training at the Sebastian County Emergency Operations Center, which it shares with Sebastian County Emergency Management. The police department pays the county nearly $ 30,000 per year for this privilege.

“I know, especially since we started having our own police academies, there are a lot of people out there for us,” Baker said. “So there was a long-term desire to find something more suitable for us and move to a new, up-to-date facility, specific to our needs, and now specific to the needs of the fire department. “

The facility could also house a second police station, according to Baker. This would establish a permanent police presence on the east side of town, something people are calling for with the increased development of Chaffee Crossing.

Baker said the facility will also house a consolidated 911 call center. Sebastian County is consolidating its 911 system.

Christensen wrote in a note to principals that the fire department provides classroom training at the No.1 fire station downtown or at the No.11 fire station at Chaffee Crossing. However, the two classrooms can only accommodate 25 people, even without social distancing.

A training center classroom in the current training center would allow the department to streamline the transition from academic training to practical training, according to Christensen.

“With a large, conference-style classroom, firefighters and police could organize regional or even national training courses,” Christensen wrote. “These types of courses are paid for by visiting departments, resulting in a low return on investment for each course held as well as added tax revenue for every police or firefighter visiting Fort Smith.”

Christensen wrote that the facility would include a large classroom, small breakout classrooms, offices for the training divisions of the fire and police departments, public restrooms, toilet-showers-changing rooms for men and women and shared functional and support areas.

A local architect proposed the estimate of $ 10.8 million for the installation based on the training needs expressed by the administration and training divisions of the police and fire departments, according to Christensen. Requirements will likely need to be reduced later in the process.

Baker said departments will share the cost of the project, although outside money may be available.

The police department’s 10-year plan shows that the department is spending $ 5 million on the construction and infrastructure of the facility, which is divided into annual installments of $ 500,000 between 2023 and 2032. The fire department has allocated $ 4 million for the project in 2023, according to his plan. . The Police Department will also spend $ 50,000 for a study next year.

City administrator Carl Geffken said in a note that the police department’s 10-year plan is paid out at $ 1 million per year from the general fund.

The fire department’s 10-year plan would see the ministry spend nearly $ 3.5 million in 2022 if approved, which includes over $ 1.05 million from the general fund, $ 1.5 million from Federal Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and $ 940,000 in sales tax revenue after paying the salaries, benefits and operational needs of firefighters, according to Geffken.

The fire department receives half of the proceeds of a quarter-cent sales tax, with the parks department receiving the other half. The tax began in 2012 and is scheduled to expire on September 30.

Directors also reviewed five-year capital improvement plans for streets, bridges and the associated drainage program as well as the parks and recreation department on Tuesday.

The meeting also covered the 10-year capital improvement plan for the Department of Streets and Traffic Control, in addition to the department’s plan to use excess money to pay for construction projects and purchases. vehicles and equipment.

The Board of Directors put all plans on the agenda for its December 2 meeting for further discussion and approval.

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And after

The Fort Smith board will discuss four more 10-year capital improvement plans at its next study session on October 26. to the municipal solid waste service.

Source: Fort Smith

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