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BENTONVILLE – Work on a new fire training facility has begun, a city official said.
According to the city, Bentonville is the only city in northwest Arkansas without its own training facilities for rescue workers.
The fire training center will occupy a little over two acres on Southwest Aviation Drive. The center will be next to the city’s public works and maintenance building. Bentonville Municipal Airport is across the street.
The city council approved three contracts related to the project in October: $ 150,000 with Jackson Brown Palculict Architects, $ 40,500 with Morrison Shipley for the civil engineering services, and an agreement with Clinard Construction for the pre-construction and first phase construction, the $ 70,000 geotechnical, grading, and dirt work, according to council documents.
The project’s civil engineer is submitting plans to the city and the site manager is working on a cost analysis, said fire chief Brent Boydston.
The training building was purchased with delivery this summer, Boydston said. Most of the building is delivered prefabricated.
The 7,860-square-foot, five-story fire training / fire building would increase firefighters’ safety during training, provide flexibility and consistency in training, meet regulatory standards, and reduce environmental impact, the city said. The facility would also provide the ability to train personnel on high risk, low frequency incidents and improve the safety of firefighters during fire training.
According to the city, smoke would be generated using a theater smoke system that complies with the Environmental Protection Agency and has no harmful effects on the environment or the fire service.
The department completed 45,598 hours of training in 2021, of which 65% (30,496 hours) were specifically fire training, said Joey Bequette, division chief / training officer. The department has 102 firefighters working three shifts, Bequette said.
“Our new training facility will enable us to meet the training needs that we currently do not have on-site, as we must immediately send staff to other locations to complete certain courses,” said Bequette. “However, the new training facility will not cover all of the training paths or channels we use, as some courses or courses will only be offered in certain facilities across the country. The new training facility will allow us to train more efficiently and safely while providing us with advanced skills for training scenarios that we might encounter in the field. “
The $ 3.9 million fire department training center was part of the city’s $ 266 million bond scheme for capital projects and bond refinancing voters approved in April. The city will pay for the bonds by extending a 1 cent sales tax originally approved in 2003.
Police training center
A police department training center is also in the works this year, which was approved as part of the April bond issue. The cost is $ 1.65 million.
The facility will be built on 20 acres of urban land near the Bentonville Armory just off Regional Airport Road.
Work on the design of the property has begun, said Debbie Griffin, city council director. The entire project is expected to be completed in autumn.
The city council, at its July 27 meeting, approved an offer waiver to purchase VirTra’s proprietary interactive virtual simulator training system, complete with equipment, installation, software and training. The city receives the VirTra V-300. The cost was $ 233,377. VirTra is based in Tempe, Arizona.
The system helps prepare officers for real incidents. Every realistic, de-escalating and evaluating use of the strength training simulator has realistic scenarios that offer a detailed insight into human performance. In this way, the officers can use all the tools available during the simulation which, according to information from the city, may only be limited or impossible to duplicate on a live fire stand.
The city is still waiting for the equipment, Cpl said. Adam McInnis, public information officer.
“As with a lot of other things in our economy right now, there was part of this simulator that was behind due to the supply chain,” he said. “We have contacted the company and expect the simulator to be shipped this month.”
The department has budgeted 92 officials for this year, up from 84 last year, McInnis said.
The police training facility will also include a live virtual field booth, a K-9 training area and a training building to house shooting ranges. It would also be used as a training area for bomb squads / special response teams. The bomb squad covers northwest Arkansas and Missouri.
“Both facilities will make training more efficient and effective, and the schedule will be more flexible and easier to prepare, with less travel and planning time, which will greatly improve the functionality of both departments for the benefit of all Bentonville residents,” said Octavio Sanchez.