The architectural services have been budgeted for $500,000 for current fiscal year, and the Fire District is preparing to issue a request for proposals from area firms.
Preliminary ideas for design features include a five-story tower as well as several adjoining structures called annexes, which would simulate other architectural features that firefighters may encounter in the field, said Deputy Chief Don Cloughsey, who manages firefighter training.
"We know what we want to accomplish as trainers and as firemen, but we need help in developing a structure that's going to do it so we can get a whole structure response with all 27 people operating on a fire that utilizes extensive operations," Cloughsey said.
"How we coordinate that all together, so we can practice it on a regular basis, that's why we need the bigger building. Plus, it adds extra features like high-angle rescue and we talked a little bit about simulated elevator rescue."
A conservative estimate for completion of the structure may be about five years, Bell said.
"We would like it to be open no later than 2017 or 2018. That would be our goal," Bell said.
Jersey station currently has a training area, utilizing "sets" and props made out of large shipping containers to simulate various fire and emergency scenarios.
Plans for a more permanent structure, utilizing architecturally planned features to better simulate actual architectural features and environments, have long been in the works. A training center was part of original plans for the station, which were drawn up in 1989.
Jersey station was completed in 1992, but without a training center. The existing training area, behind the main building of Jersey station, has been in place since the mid-2000s.
The fire department opened a new fire station on Hellman Avenue last year at a cost of about $4 million. Other plans include new classrooms, and a new emergency operating center the fire department can use in a major emergency, and can serve as a back up EOC to the one located at City Hall.
The fire district has a $26.47 million operating budget in fiscal year 2012-2013, with about $36 million in reserves.
The district employees about 120 people, 87 of which are firefighters. There are 29 firefighters employed during each of the three shifts per day at each of the district's seven fire stations.
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