In addition to lowering emergency response times to far north Southlake, the DPS North Training Facility under construction is intended to become a place for regional police and firefighter training.
The $16 million building at the corner of White Chapel Boulevard and Dove Road will include an indoor firing range, classrooms, an auditorium and a complete fire station.
Current response times to northern Southlake are 8 to 8 1/2 minutes, said Deputy Fire Chief Wade Carroll. He said he expects times to drop to around five minutes, the same as the city's other fire districts and in keeping with the national standard.
"Three minutes can mean brain death or a flashover for a home," Carroll said.
The older station at 600 State St. is currently the first responder to that area.
The new fire station will house a one-engine company with four firefighters.
On the training side, the indoor firing range in a separate building will have 25-yard ranges for pistol practice and 50-yard for rifles.
The range also will have enough space to pull in a vehicle so police officers can practice shooting from cover, Carroll said.
"It's a great training tool for the police department," he said.
The range will save time for Southlake police because they currently have to be taken out of service to drive to a range at DFW International Airport or to ranges in other cities for target practice, Carroll said.
The 75-seat auditorium should provide ample room for large classes of firefighters and police.
"It's really for the Southlake Police Department and Fire Department to become a regional hub for both law enforcement and fire training," Carroll said. "There are all types of classes we can bring in here."
He said some training now is taught in other cities, or the trainers may come to existing, smaller classrooms in Southlake.
"The more training we bring to Southlake, the less that our Southlake firefighters and police officers have to travel to go to these classes," he said.
The departments hope to have mini-conferences in the space as well.
One of the two classrooms in the new building will have a padded floor for teaching defensive tactics that also is firm enough to support tables and chairs for use as a regular classroom.
In addition to the fire company, a training officer and a range master will staff the building.
Carroll said construction should be completed in November, and a grand opening is planned for December.
The project was paid for through the city Crime Prevention and Control District, which uses a half-cent sales tax on purchases made in Southlake.
The construction contractor is Lee Lewis Construction Inc. based in Dallas, and the architect is RPGA Design Group Inc. based in Fort Worth.
For more details about this project and others, visit www.cityofsouthlake.com.