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Owens Community College Celebrates Groundbreaking For New Homeland Security Training Center
Owens Community College celebrated over three decades of providing educational training to Northwest Ohio's safety forces by breaking ground for a new $10 million Fire and Police Training Center for Homeland Security. The groundbreaking ceremony occurred on Friday, April 30.
Owens President Christa Adams, Ph.D., and Board of Trustee members joined community leaders, safety forces, area residents and employees in honoring the College's commitment to public service education and celebrated the new state-of- the-art educational facility's initial construction.
Also in attendance for the event were Congressman Paul Gillmor, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, State Senator Randy Gardner, and State Representatives' Robert Latta, Peter Ujvagi, Edna Brown, Jeanine Perry and James Hoops.
"Owens Community College is recognized as a nationwide leader within emergency response training," said Christa Adams, Ph.D., President of Owens Community College. "The construction of a new Fire and Police Training Center for Homeland Security demonstrates this College's responsiveness to providing area safety forces with the highest educational level in multi-agency, scenario training."
President Adams added, "Police, fire and emergency services personnel throughout the country place their lives in harms way to ensure our safety and protection. Owens Community College is proud and deeply committed to playing a critical part in their training efforts and securing our future."
The College's Groundbreaking Celebration began with a picnic on the Driving Pad, adjacent to the Fire Science and Law Enforcement Center. Attendees also had the opportunity to view an array of exhibits, which were on display throughout the event.
State-of-the-art equipment featured were a Hazmat trailer (Toledo Fire and Rescue Division), a bomb truck and a SWAT truck (Toledo Police Department), a police cruiser (Rossford Police Department), a pump truck (Northwood Fire Department), aerial trucks (Perrysburg Township Fire Department) and (Lake Township Fire Department), and helicopters (Toledo Police Department) and (St. Vincent Medical Center and Medical College of Ohio LifeFlight), among others.
In addition, schematics, depicting the future Fire and Police Training Center for Homeland Security, were unveiled and on exhibit for individuals to view.
Groundbreaking festivities commenced with remarks by Christa Adams, Ph.D., President of Owens Community College. Serving as the keynote speaker was State Fire Marshal Stephen K. Woltz. Led by Owens officials, community leaders and safety forces, the ceremony concluded with the actual groundbreaking on the Center's future site.
Owens Community College's new state-of-the-art facility will be located on a 110- acre parcel, featuring a Command and Simulation Center for Regional Anti- Terrorism and Emergency Management. The interior of the Center will consist of a simulation containment chamber, a command center, and state-of-the-art classrooms and computer and science laboratories.
Phase I of Owens' initial project will be to install an infrastructure of water lines, gas lines and fiber optic cable. In addition, the first phase will include a smokeless burn building and an observation tower. Additional Phases will include a mock city and a variety of other simulation scenarios.
Each segment of this project will be accompanied by the installation of a fiber optic link video system, which is connected to a computerized system. The innovative technology will allow for real-time observations of training exercises from remote locations. The College's new Center has already received $1.125 million in funding from the state of Ohio.
A consortium of leaders in emergency services and homeland security has been assembled by the College to assist with the planning stages of Owens' state-of-the- art facility. Contributors to the project's development is led by Phil Keith, Chief of Police for the city of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Chief Keith has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement and in 2002 was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Homeland Security Senior Advisory Committee. He currently is a member of Secretary Tom Ridge's Homeland Security Cabinet. The architectural firm Poggemeyer Design Group Inc. in Bowling Green has been chosen to design the future complex.
Owens' longstanding commitment to regional training for safety forces includes in 2002 signing an agreement with the Ohio Fire Academy to provide college coursework to full- and part-time firefighters throughout the state of Ohio. This collaboration enables fire academy students to earn an Owens associate's degree, while simultaneously receiving instructional and laboratory training. Owens is the first higher educational institution in the state to offer any type of degree program to Ohio Fire Academy students.
The College currently offers associate degrees and certificate programs in Fire Science Technology and Criminal Justice Science Technology, as well as Emergency Medical Technician Certification. Courses offered within the public service curricula include: criminal law and procedure, patrol operations, crime scene processing, fire fighting tactics and command, hazardous materials, fire inspection principles and first responder.
Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 27 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for Northwest Ohio college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.