Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and other County and state officials took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA) located at 8751 Snouffer School Road in Gaithersburg.
The new PSTA is part of the Montgomery County Multi Agency Service Park. Its opening marks the completion of the eighth project and final construction of a new facility in Leggett’s Smart Growth Initiative. The SGI, introduced by the County Executive in 2008, represents a bold program designed to provide critically needed public facilities by leveraging County-owned land for use in job creation and in providing transit-oriented housing.
Also on hand for the ribbon cutting were County Council members Nancy Floreen, Marc Elrich, Sidney Katz and Hans Riemer; Congressman John Delaney, Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, Fire Chief Scott E. Goldstein, Department of Transportation Director Al Roshdieh, Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Director Robert Green, and Department of General Services Director David Dise.
"It is especially gratifying that we are opening our eighth new facility today in my Smart Growth Initiative which continues the vision of using our County’s building site resources to their greatest potential,” said Leggett. “Through this initiative we have built a world-class public safety training facility that will have a positive impact on the preparedness of our public safety personnel and the safety of our County for decades to come.”
“Montgomery County residents are rightly proud of our public safety force,” said Council President Floreen. “The opening of the new Public Safety Training Academy represents a terrific next step in ensuring our personnel get the top-notch training and continuing education that help to make our county the envy of jurisdictions across the country.”
The former PSTA located at 9710 Great Seneca Highway in Rockville, was completed in 1973. Since then, the training needs of public safety agencies have changed significantly. The PSTA houses the specialized training programs for all new law enforcement officers hired by Montgomery County’s Department of Police, Office of the Sheriff, Rockville City Police, Gaithersburg Police, Takoma Park Police, Chevy Chase Village Police, the Maryland-National Capital Park Police-Montgomery County, and the Office of the Fire Marshal. The PSTA also houses functional training programs for all career and volunteer fire and emergency personnel in the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. Department of Transportation Ride On bus operators and Department of Correction and Rehabilitation staff will also receive training here.
"With the continued focus on police training issues in this Country, a state-of-the-art Training Academy allows us to employ all of the best practices developed over the past 10 years,” said Chief Manger. “The use of technology and realistic scenario-based training are key. We also now have the capacity to keep all police and fire and rescue employees up-to-date with their training requirements, and do even more. This facility will help improve public safety in Montgomery County."
The new PSTA facility will provide the Montgomery County Police Training Academy a technologically up-to-date learning environment for all members of the Montgomery County Department of Police, as well as their allied agencies. It will allow academy staff to provide scenario-based training. The campus features two indoor-firearm ranges, four full-sized buildings that replicate a townhouse, a garden apartment, a single-family home, bank, convenience store and school facility for scenario-based de-escalation training, and a vehicle driving track and skidpan area. The main academic building has nine classrooms, a use-of force-training simulator, defensive-tactics training room, gymnasium, weight room, and administrative office space. The Police Canine (K9) Unit will be housed on the campus with an 80,000-square-foot fenced training area, kennels, and administrative office space.
“This state-of-the-art facility will allow for all-hazards training and education for decades to come,” said Fire Chief Goldstein. “This will support the career and volunteer fire fighters and emergency medical personnel from not only Montgomery County but from across the state and region. This new campus expands the joint public safety drills and training that can take place.”
For the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, this new, state-of-the-art facility provides unparalleled access to cutting-edge technology, integrated and reality-based training experiences, and a consolidation of critical public safety and first-responder training.
Complimentary to the advanced technological benefits of the eight classrooms in the Academic Building are the specialized resources for practical-skills training. Two advanced training buildings are designed for developing both residential and commercial firefighting skills. A four-story High-Bay Building provides a year-round training environment which includes a tactical training village and mixed-use town center capable of simulating a variety of advanced emergency scenarios, technical and confined-space training and rescues. A Command Training Lab provides reality-based training for department officers on managing large-scale, all-hazard events. Two Metro Railcars have been donated to provide critical training on complex rail operations. ALS Simulation Labs provide EMS providers with state-of-the-art training tools.
The Academic, Fire Residential Training, Apparatus, and Canine Training Buildings of the PSTA are designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification by incorporating innovative features. The design is conceived to make sustainability not only a matter of achieving a point total, but making it an integral and seamless part of the buildings and landscape.
The construction contractor is Hess Construction. The architectural firms are LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects, and Baker and Associates.
Photos courtesy MCFRS.