AURORA | A steel beam was placed on the highest point of an administrative building and signed by Aurora city employees in early June to celebrate progress made on the city’s new multi-million-dollar fire and police training facility that is set to open in December.
“The administration building is approximately 35 percent complete,” said Randy Berner, a project executive with local construction firm Adolfson and Peterson Construction, the contractor on the project. He said the firm is now finishing plans for the new burn and drill towers as part of the city’s design-build project.
When completed, the 23-acre campus will have four separate buildings, and will be located south of Quincy Road near the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds on land owned by the city. It will include 43,000 square feet of classroom and training space, a five-story drill tower, and 3,500 square feet of class-A burn building, according to the firm.
The campus will serve as a joint-training facility for the city’s fire and police departments, which will allow the two units to train and operate together. It will also be close to Arapahoe County’s driving track and sheriff’s office for future collaborative training opportunities with other agencies.
Aurora Police and Fire have said the facility has been a long time coming. Currently both departments train at several different locations around the Denver metro area, including the fire academy in north Denver and in World War II-era barracks on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
The project was initially approved for up to $28 million in city funding in February. In May Aurora City Council approved an additional $3 million for the design and construction of an emergency operations vehicle course, or EVOC.
Tom McMinimee, associate engineer for the city, said the training course was added in response to changes in police officer testing certification requirements. According to city documents for the course, all in-service officers are required to complete four hours of driver training a year to retain their Police Officers Standards and Training certification.
When completed, the facility will serve 323 firefighters and 679 police staff that make up both departments.
Former Finance Director Jason Batchelor said in February the city budgeted $1.5 million in debt service payments annually for over the next two decades for the training site. Batchelor is now Aurora’s interim deputy city manager.
Future plans for the training center also include a 7,700-square-foot tactical search and rescue structure, a five-building tactical village, and a training site for vehicle extrication, trench simulation and haz-mat training.
Several years ago, city officials tabled a proposal to build a $100-million public safety training facility with Denver when the economy soured and both cities suffered budget deficits.