Lewisville Fire Chief Mark McNeal said John Ashman was known all over the area and region for his fire training acumen.

On Jan. 10, area fire personnel attended a groundbreaking for a facility that will bear his name.

Ashman, who died in May, is the former division chief of training for the Lewisville Fire Department, where he worked for 40 years, and the new facility will allow firefighters from Lewisville, Highland Village and Flower Mound to obtain training. All three cities are contributing funds to construct the two-building facility, which is expected to be finished by the end of 2024 if construction goes as planned and weather permits, McNeal said. The building will sit adjacent to the existing facility, located on East Valley Ridge Boulevard.

“It’s a huge, huge honor,” said Joy Ashman, John Ashman’s wife, who attended the groundbreaking and explained training was her husband’s “forte,” and she thinks the three cities coming together for the facility makes sense and will make the three units more of a family.

The background

The existing training facility has become obsolete, as it was built in 1990, but it does not hold any live fire training, McNeal said.

McNeal said the existing building is used for drills, and firefighters look forward to doing live fire training at the new facility. Firefighters have to attend other trainings out of town, including in Denton.

Flower Mound Town Council approved an interlocal agreement with Highland Village and Lewisville officials for the facility in October 2021.

The details

The building will cost $6.8 million, with Flower Mound providing $2.7 million, or 40.6%, and Highland Village contributing $535,797.98, or 7.8%. Lewisville will contribute the remaining amount, according to figures provided by the town of Flower Mound.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the joint project is great for all three cities from a budgetary standpoint but also from a teamwork [standpoint] because we’re on scenes together, working emergency scenes, and it will just make it better,” McNeal said.

Flower Mound Fire Chief Paul Henley said Highland Village Fire Department personnel have traveled to Denton for training with Flower Mound firefighters, and Flower Mound personnel have trained at Lewisville’s old facility with Lewisville employees. The new facility will have residential- and commercial-type buildings for training.

“These three departments [have] not only proximity but we have a kinship,” Henley said. “We look out for their backs, and they look out for our backs.”

Highland Village Fire Chief Jason Collier especially likes the convenience of a nearby facility.

"The opportunities are just tremendous for all three cities," he said.