Plans for Fresno's new 'First Responders Campus' move forward

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local police and fire department hopefuls will soon have a new facility to call their own.

Administrators announced Wednesday construction on a state of the art First Responders Campus in Southeast Fresno.

"We produce the best people out of fire and the best people out of police training in the state, may be in the country," said State Center Community College District Chancellor Dr. Paul Parnell. "We do a great job. Some of our staff faculty are here and I'm so proud of them, but they're in terrible facilities."

As it is right now, fire cadet training and the police academy facilities are on opposite ends of town and are made up mostly of portable classrooms.

The police academy has been running out of real estate for years, wedged together near Racliffe Stadium on the campus of Fresno City College.

The new location will combine police, fire, and EMT education into a First Responder Academy stretched across 42 acres -- complete with locker rooms, training areas, and classrooms.

The SCCCD is spending $2.3 million of Measure C funds to purchase the land.

"We have a property now that will be able to work together to be able to build something great that our students deserve," said FCC president Dr. Carole Goldsmith.

About 75 fire cadets and 150 police academy students go through the program every year.

But the new, all-inclusive campus will allow for many more students.

"There are a lot of great cadets that come out of this academy," said fire chief Kerri Donis. "So if they're going to produce more each year even better."

Escrow on the land is expected to close in early August with construction expected to begin in 2020.
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