A $29 million Public Safety Training Center has opened its doors to police officers and firefighters in Round Rock.
In 2005, City Council approved the purchase of the Round Rock Police Department Headquarters on a 73-acre piece of land located at 2801 N. Mays St. At the time of the purchase, Council envisioned the public safety training facility would one day be constructed on the same property.
The $29 million for the facility was approved by voters in the 2013 bond election and broke ground in November 2016.
“This [facility]will save taxpayers over $100,000—both for fire and police,” said RRPD Chief Allen Banks, noting that officers and firefighters would no longer have to travel outside of the city to receive training. “We will be able to bring in top notch instructors to instruct our officers and our firefighters throughout the year.”
“We have to thank our citizens,” said Fire Chief Robert Isbell. “They agreed to have this built to keep our public safety officers trained at a high level… We will serve that aback with the highest-trained public service officers that the state will ever have.”
The 65,000-square-foot main building houses several training classrooms for both fire and police as well as a gym, offices, training rooms and a 50-yard shooting range.
Outside of the main building is ‘the village,’ a spread of six residential structures designed for tactical training. The walls inside of the buildings are designed to be reassembled to allow for a variety in officer trainings.
The training center also features a 5-story burn tower, 2-story building and simulation railroad track for fire training. Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed to transfer decommissioned buses to the training center to allow first responders to train for the possibility of an overturned transit vehicle.
“One of the things this facility brings to this city is the opportunity to train on our low-frequency, high-risk events,” Isbell said. “We have to be training for those really high-risk incidents, regardless of whether they happen that frequently. This facility brings that to the forefront.”
Firefighters have the ability to start and immediately extinguish blazes for training sessions with the push of a button.
The complex also features underground tunnels with manhole covers to allow for compact space training.
“Training is essential to public safety,” Banks said. “This facility will help train officers for any situation that may occur.”
The center will be open to the public Sept. 19 from 4-8 p.m.