Wildland firefighting shovels were the tool of choice as college officials and special guests broke ground September 13 on the new $37.9 million Public Safety Training Complex at Allan Hancock College’s Lompoc Valley Center.

Superintendent/President José Ortiz, Ed.D., led the ceremony, which featured short talks by Bernard Jones, president of the Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees, Rick Rantz, dean, The Extended Campus, other college representatives, and the executive director of California’s Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST), Paul Cappitelli.

The state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Complex will occupy approximately 52 acres and will be used to prepare a workforce of highly skilled public safety professionals, including police, fire and emergency medical services.  It will also provide certification and recertification for working professionals and environmental technology training.

“This complex will be a boost to the Lompoc economy from this day forward,” Jones said.  “We will all benefit from the exceptional teaching and learning that will go on here.”

Features of the new facility include a six-story fire tower, shooting range, scenario village, one-mile high-speed emergency vehicle operator course (EVOC), fitness track and more.

In addition to being an advanced training facility, the new complex has had numerous sustainability strategies incorporated into its design to ensure that it meets the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new construction.

This project is being funded by Bond Measure I, the $180 million general obligation bond passed by the college district’s electorate in 2006 to support major technology and facilities advancements at Allan Hancock College.  Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2013.