Thirty-nine acres of farmland at the northwest corner of Willow and North avenues southeast of Fresno will be the site of Fresno City College’s new $46.1 million First Responders Training Center.

But the opening date for classes, originally set for late 2022, now is scheduled for the 2024 spring semester, said George Cummings, district director of facilities planning for State Center Community College District.

Delays ensued when the district struggled to find a suitable location for the training center, college officials have said.

The district paid $2.3 million to buy the site and for closing costs, Cummings said.

New Home for Police, Fire Academies

The First Responders Training Center will provide a single location for the training of police cadets, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. The current Fresno City College Police Academy is in cramped quarters on the college campus, and the Fire Academy is at the Career and Technology Center at 2930 E. Annadale Ave. in Fresno. In the 2017-18 year, the three programs served 4,395 students.

Funds to pay for the center are included in Measure C, a $485 million bond measure for new facilities and renovations that voters approved in June 2016, and Measure E, a $161 million bond measure approved by voters in November 2002.

State Center trustees voted in August to approve a $3 million contract with SIM-PBK Architects to design the training center. The Fresno firm has designed first responder campuses at other California community colleges.

Architect’s Planning Work Is Underway

Cummings said the district has already begun the programming/planning phase with the architect and user groups. The next phase is creating the schematic design of floor plans and elevations, he said.

The Police Academy, known as the State Center Regional Training Facility, was founded in 1973 and provides basic police academy, probation officer, advanced officer training, recertification, out-of-state waiver testing, dispatcher courses, and other continual law enforcement courses.

The Fire Academy, founded in 1992, offers courses that include basic fire, firefighter II, emergency medical technician, HAZMAT, rescue, and paramedic. Emergency medical technician classes are taught at the Fresno Pacific University North Campus.

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