City of Amarillo supports AC’s plan to build a $13 million Regional First Responders Training Center

Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - This week the City of Amarillo announced it supports Amarillo College’s (AC) plan to build a $13 million Regional First Responders Training Center at the old JC Penny store in Sunset Center.

They’ve now completed the schematic design view of the project, but they still haven’t purchased the JC Penny building yet.

This would house firefighters, EMT and Law Enforcement AC students together instead of how it is now... as students currently are spread throughout different AC campuses.

“The purchase of the building is the all-important step. As soon as we can get that, well start asbestos abatement’s and demolition of what’s inside that building so that we can actually do some real refined measurements for the architects, so we’d like to get demolition done, so we have that done, we’re ready to start construction as soon as the plans are complete, hopefully by six months,” said Danny Smith, master plan program manager.

The college will utilize bond funds to help pay for the project, but they are also seeking partnerships to help raise additional funds.

“We always knew it would cost something more than 6 or 7 million dollars and we always knew that we would have to find additional partners to help with that, and when I say partners, I’m talking about state or federal funding or even private donations,” said Mark White, executive vice president at Amarillo College.

There’s no financial commitment from the city.

“We do not yet have an exact price tag. We’re working with the architects. But we do know that it will be a minimum of 6 or 7 million dollars for which we have bond referendum money to pay for that. But to build out the entire space and to make it as first class as possible, and provide everything we could possibly need, the price tag will be up,” said White.

The new facility would include simulation rooms, a fire tower, an apparatus bay, an office space environment to practice in, other rooms to set up as they need, many cameras, viewing booths for instructors, and much more.

They are in the process of getting an easement from the land surveyors, so they can complete the purchase.

“We can’t buy that property until we have a written easement because we’re back in the back corner, we have to have an easement so that we can always get to Plains Blvd. Which makes sense because they could block us in and then we would never be able to get to that building,” said White.

They plan to close the purchase of the facility within the next few weeks and then the next phase would be getting measurements of the facility for the architects.

For more information about the project, click here.

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