Fire Department Division Chief Brandon Barth presented the agreement on Oct. 18 to the council, detailing the importance of the facility.
The Lewisville Fire Department approached Flower Mound and Highland Village in 2019 about the joint agreement. The existing Lewisville fire training facility could no longer be used safely to perform live fire training.
The agreement divides both the initial capital cost of the facility and the amount of time each fire department will have access to the facility. Lewisville has 51.6% of the cost and time, followed by Flower Mound with 40.6% and Highland Village with 7.8%, according to town documents. The agreement states the facility would be owned solely by the city of Lewisville, but it would grant the Flower Mound and Highland Village fire departments the right to use it.
The 20-year agreement begins once construction is completed and accepted. The agreement includes automatic one-year renewals unless cities provide notice of nonrenewal, according to Highland Village city documents.
The Texas Commission on Fire Protection requires 20 hours of continued fire training and education for structural firefighters. With the town’s Insurance Services Office rating increasing to a 1 on Dec. 1, Flower Mound firefighters will need an extra 18 hours to maintain the rating, Barth said. ISO ratings, which rank a department's capability to prevent and suppress structure fires, are based on a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being the highest.
The town rents fire training space in neighboring towns farther away, but the distance to these facilities as well as the need to schedule training sessions far in advance makes the joint facility in Lewisville more beneficial, Barth said.
“Having personally gone to the Garland [fire training facility] and sitting in traffic for an hour waiting to go do the training, that’s not really the best use of the town’s time,” Barth said. “So having an area much closer is definitely beneficial.”
The new joint training facility will be located where the old Lewisville facility stands at 701 E. Valley Ridge Blvd. The total cost of the facility is more than $4.9 million with Flower Mound being responsible for a little more than $2 million.
According to town documents, the 9,000-square-foot facility is proposed to “include access to a drill tower and classrooms to effectively prepare for an 'all hazards' approach to emergency response including but not limited to Fire, Disaster Management, Technical Rescue as well as complex medical scenarios.”
Barth also said the facility will allow for ladder throwing practicing and live fire scenarios to imitate smoke conditions.
The town has requested to pay its share in two equal installments, one that was required to be paid no later than Oct. 15 and the second no later than April 22. Lewisville will cover the cost of the April payment to move the project along in a timely fashion, and the money will be refunded to Lewisville after Flower Mound makes the payment, according to Lewisville city documents.
The agreement has been approved by all three parties with the Lewisville council voting on it Sept. 14 and Highland Village Oct. 12.
Highland Village fire Chief Michael Thomson said at the City Council meeting Oct. 12 that he anticipated the facility will be ready about 18 months after construction begins.