Building P Renovations Begin to Benefit Fire Science Program
Beginning June 30, Building P will undergo a complete makeover, and an additional building will be constructed to create room for the Fire Science program at South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Highlands Campus.
Florida’s Department of Education Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) program, which was established in 1963 to fund public higher education construction and maintenance projects, funded the $2.6 million dollar project. After receiving the funds two years ago, SFSC has been working diligently in the design phase and is finally ready to enter the construction period.
“This project will provide our local firefighters and students that are interested in fire science education courses with required training so they do not have to drive or relocate to other areas of the state,” said Glenn Little, vice president, administrative services. He said the construction will take place in two phases.
Phase one includes the renovation of Building P which was primarily used as a storage facility after the college’s machinery and carpentry programs were eliminated several years ago.
Building P will soon feature a fully equipped computer lab, a fire science laboratory, a related classroom, storage rooms, restrooms, and faculty offices. The building will undergo a facelift with the addition of new carpet, ceilings, lighting, and paint. The fire science laboratory will include parking for up to two fire trucks, a covered pavilion for outside instruction, and storage space for fire science education equipment. The restrooms located between Building P and O will be remodeled to provide a multipurpose air-conditioned facility with showers.
Phase two of the project will include the construction of a new four-story fire tower with an attached two-story burn room that will be positioned west of the EMS programs in the Public Safety Building. The addition will include a 50,000 gallon water tank and well, four exterior burn props for fire science education, and a drafting pond used for draft training and pump tests.
During this project, chain link fencing will be erected as required around buildings affected by the renovation. Signs will be posted noting construction areas as well as parking locations for construction workers. A section of parking lot I, as well as the interconnected driveway adjacent to Building P, will be temporarily closed for extended time periods during the renovation. In addition to the renovations, there will be revisions to landscaping, sidewalks, and driveways.
“These upgrades will give us classroom and laboratory environments for firefighting and fire prevention education,” said Steve Ashworth, chair, EMS and fire science programs. “We will be able to provide training in basic fire standards, advanced certificate courses, as well as courses for SFSC’s associate in science fire science technology degree. Some of the new specialized training equipment and simulators that SFSC will be integrating with the new facilities include a vehicle fire prop, liquid propane fire prop, confined space rescue, and advanced technical rescue. Although the training tower and ancillary spaces will be predominately used for firefighting education, it will also provide an area for other disciplines such as advanced training in law enforcement.”
The renovation project is expected to be completed by December 2014.