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Ohio Legislature Approves State Funding For Fire, Police and Homeland Security Training Center At Owens Community College
Owens Community College received legislative approval on nearly $10 million in capital funding for the future construction of state-of-the-art facilities on its Toledo-area and Findlay-area Campuses.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Senate appropriated $8.7 million for the construction of the new Findlay-area Campus, as well as $1.1 million toward the creation of a new Fire and Police Training Center for Professional Development and Homeland Security on the Toledo-area Campus. The action follows recent acceptance by the Ohio House of Representatives of House Bill 675, which allocates capital funding for the renovation, maintenance and construction of new facilities. Currently, the bill is pending final approval by Governor Bob Taft.
"Owens Community College has a long-standing commitment to providing each student with access to a high quality education," said Christa Adams, Ph.D., President of Owens Community College. "The construction of new state-of-the-art facilities will enable this College to heighten its mission, offering even more educational opportunities as Owens continues to meet the needs of our students and area residents in the surrounding communities."
The proposed Fire and Police Training Center for Professional Development and Homeland Security will include training facilities such as a pursuit track, skid pads, driving/handling road course, burn building, fire tower, car burn area, fuel spill area and control tower. The new facility also will include a Terrorism Simulation Center and a Maritime Training Center, as well as a rail spur and other Transportation-related emergency sites. The Center will be located on a vacant 69-acre parcel on the Toledo-area Campus bounded by Walbridge Road, Tracy Road and railroad tracks.
According to Dr. Paul Unger, Provost of Owens Community College, the proposed Fire and Police Training Center for Professional Development and Homeland Security will be the only state-of-the-art facility of this magnitude within the Midwest.
"Owens Community College has been at the forefront in partnering with area police, fire and medical agencies, especially with the Toledo Police and Fire Departments whose academies are located on our Toledo-area Campus," Provost Unger said. "This new training facility will greatly expand our educational capabilities and position Owens as the regional training provider for thousands of police, fire, medical and military personnel."
Besides Owens Community College, a number of local agencies are involved in the development of the proposed training center.
"As the current chair of Homeland Security in Lucas County, I have had many discussions centering around the need to collaborate with the surrounding communities in an effort to heighten our emergency preparedness," said Chief Michael Bell, Director of Fire and Rescue Operations for the city of Toledo. "The establishment of a Fire and Police Training Center for Professional Development and Homeland Security at Owens Community College will be an important element in establishing well-trained fire and police officers for our area communities."
Chief Bell added, "As a regional facility, this new Center will allow the safety forces of Northwest Ohio to standardize techniques and strategies in mutual responses that will be necessary in the event of a natural disaster or emergency within our community."
According to Michael Navarre, Chief of Police for the city of Toledo, the importance of training for public safety forces cannot be underestimated.
"Training may make the difference between life or death for a police officer involved in a critical incident," Chief Navarre said. "I fully support the construction of this joint police/fire training facility and applaud President Adams and her staff at Owens Community College for their efforts in successfully securing these funds."
Owens Community College recently signed an agreement with the Ohio Fire Academy to provide college coursework to full- and part-time firefighters throughout the state of Ohio. This new collaboration will enable fire academy students to earn an Owens associate’s degree, while simultaneously receiving instructional training. With this agreement, Owens becomes the first higher educational institution in the state to offer any type of degree program to Ohio fire academy students.
On the Toledo-area Campus, Owens currently offers associate degrees or certificate programs in Fire Science Technology and Criminal Justice Science Technology, as well as Emergency Medical Technician Certification.
Owens Community College is the fastest-growing community college of its size in the nation. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students in Northwest Ohio. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 140 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelors degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.