Leaders break ground on new First Responders Center in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local leaders are taking action by investing in the community's future to better prepare police officers, firefighters and EMTs.

Construction is underway at the site of Fresno City College's new multi-million dollar First Responders Training Center.

The site will bring together a number of programs and academies into one 40-acre campus location.

"This facility here is going to save lives in our community. It's going to save the lives of the people we respond to in emergencies and it's also going to save the lives of our police officers and firefighters who are able to train at a first-class, world-class facility," said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

The current Fresno City College Police Academy is located on campus, while the Fire Academy can be found at the Career and Technology Center.

On Thursday, local leaders broke ground on the long-awaited $46.1 million project.

$45 million of that came from Measure E funding which voters passed in 2002 -- with the rest paid for through Measure C.

Congressman Jim Costa calls the commitment to build one site for the training of cadets, firefighters and EMTs an important milestone for the Central Valley.

"We learned a lot during the pandemic that our First Responders are critical and the need to have a training facility that provides the best and the brightest is really a reflection of the commitment this community has made, investing in our future," Costa said.

Officials from both the Fire and Police Academies say the cutting edge site will better prepare future First Responders.

This new facility will include fire training structures as well as a scenario village for police training and other stress-induced simulations.

"For folks who might be on the fence about being a First Responder, they come here, they see the campus and they're like, 'Wow.' It's like why we do campus visits for athletes, we're trying to do a similar thing. They show up on campus and they're like, 'This is my home. This is where I want to be. This is where I want to start my career.'" said Fire Training Director Peter Cacossa.

Construction is expected to be complete by late 2023.
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