By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Midwest City leaders showed off a new police and fire training facility last week.
The city hosted a grand opening for the $5 million facility on Oct. 10. The facility features a live burn training building that can be used for police tactical training, classroom space, offices, and storage facilities for equipment.
City leaders thanked citizens for their support of the project which will provide superior training opportunities for police and firefighters.
“Midwest City police and fire department are two of the best in the state of Oklahoma and we just raised the bar for everyone else,” said Mayor Matt Dukes during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
City Manager Tim Lyon said the city is blessed to have one of the top police and fire departments in the state. The new facility will help provide important training in the future.
“The level of training that it will bring not just to the fire department but police and tactical advantages for them to train on is absolutely critical,” Lyon said.
The police and fire training center was built as part of a $53 million general obligation bond issue approved by voters in 2018. It is the final brick and mortar project to be completed.
It is located at 8745 SE 15th St., just south of Fire Station No. 6 and the public works department.
The burn building is constructed out of metal shipping containers. They are designed to mirror apartments and motels in the city. Firefighters can conduct training exercises including live burns inside the building. It can also be used by police for tactical training.
Another building includes a large classroom, small meeting space, showers, kitchen area and cover patio.
The training center also includes a storage facility.
City leaders originally planned to build the police and fire training center on SE 15th St. near S. Post Rd. on the site of a former youth baseball complex. The project was relocated to its current site
after pushback from residents over smoke and noise from the facility.
Fire Chief Bert Norton said the move was a “blessing in disguise.”
“This has really turned out to be a phenomenal facility,” he said. “We have three acres here to train on, a storage building, a 2,200 square foot classroom building with state of the art computer equipment to give our people the best learning environment possible, and the burn facility.”
The project started as a vision from Assistant Fire Chief Doug Beabout. The fire and police departments worked together on designing the facility.
“This is a joint training facility and the fire department blessed with their vision and they allowed us to incorporate some things that we needed in the burn building,” said Assistant Police Chief Greg Wipfli.
Dukes said the council supported the idea as did the voters.
“We took it and ran with it as a council and the voters agreed and here it is,” Dukes said.
Guernsey provided the architectural and engineering work, and Shiloh Enterprises was the general contractor on the project.
The fire department has already received a taste of the new training facility which was completed about a month ago. They have been using the facility to train new firefighters.
Norton said they are already receiving calls from other departments across the country interested in seeing the facility.