Future police officers, firefighters, park rangers, corrections officers and paramedics will have more space for hands-on training next year with the addition of a $5.7 million multipurpose building at the Santa Rosa Junior College Public Safety Center in Windsor.
The 7,355-square-foot building, projected for completion in mid-April, will be constructed next to the current facility, which is used for various public safety programs and is filled to maximum capacity.
“We are constantly in need and overbooked for that training area,” said Lanny Brown, director of the Intensive Basic Police Academy.
An average of 250 to 300 students use the current building at least six days a week, from early morning to late at night.
Several public safety professional programs mandate more hours of physical training in a gymnasium-type building, said April Chapman, dean of public safety.
“It’s a special curriculum that requires a special type of room,” Chapman said. “This new building will give us relief.”
Because the building is fully booked on weekdays, students in the college’s police academy program have been forced to schedule remedial training on Sundays several times, Brown said. With up to 50 students in the 20-week session, the facility quickly gets crowded.
“There’s such demand,” he said.
The college will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to mark the start of the project. The new building will be funded by Measure H, a $410 million facilities bond for the junior college passed by Sonoma County voters in November 2014. The bond may be used for the construction, rehabilitation or replacement of the college’s facilities, or to acquire property, according to its website.
The Public Safety Training Center is “very fortunate” to have Measure H funds, Chapman said.
“The distribution of the funds seems to be very equitable, and takes care of a broad spectrum of needs,” Brown said. “We’re producing the next generation of people who are going to be serving this region. It wouldn’t be happening if the community didn’t support this.”
With the new building, the Public Safety Center will be able to offer more classes.
“To me, this is a very tangible return because supporting public safety is a good thing. We appreciate the support,” Brown said.
In March, the junior college district chose JL Construction and WLC Architects for a 13-month fast-track design and construction schedule.
Heather Chierici, project manager, said the building will be designed to match the existing campus, with stucco and a metal roof. It will be a practical space, with center divider — a new feature that will allow two classes simultaneously. The maximum occupancy will be 376.
“It’s been a positive experience and everything’s come together,” Chierici said.
You can reach Staff Writer Susan Minichiello at 707-521-5216 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @susanmini.