FCC Police Academy is a step closer for the long-awaited First Responders Center
Fresno’s community college district is one step closer to a long-awaited upgrade to its police and fire academies, one of the most in-demand programs at Fresno City College.
The State Center Community College board voted Tuesday to approve a $2.3 million purchase of land in southeast Fresno for a First Responders Center, which will include academies for police, fire and emergency services. The district expects escrow for the 42-acre property at 3276 E. North Ave. (near Willow Avenue) to close by Aug. 5.
The money for the purchase of the campus will come from Measure C, a $485 million bond passed by voters in 2016. The total cost for the new academy is an estimated $45 million, with $30 million from Measure E and $15 million from Measure C.
A new police and fire academy has been promised since at least 2002 with the passage of Measure E, but the district ran out of money before the academies could be built.
The Police Academy on the Fresno City College campus was opened in 1973 and has been expanded through the use of portables. When it opened, the academy was one of the first college-based academies in the state. The academy has graduated more than 6,000 cadets since its inception, and now offers advanced courses, out-of-state certification testing and courses for newly assigned detectives and investigators.
SCCCD Chancellor Paul Parnell said Fresno City College’s academies had produced top graduates despite the “terrible” facilities.
Fresno City College President Carole Goldsmith said the new campus will allow the police and fire programs to expand and enroll more students. The college currently sees 75 fire cadets and 150 police cadets each year.
Goldsmith said part of the plan for the new campus includes a “scenario village” that will give students practical training in their emergency skills. The campus will have other shared spaces as well, including weight rooms, locker rooms, training areas and classrooms.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said the new campus was a welcome addition to southeast Fresno and to students who had long been promised an updated facility.
“That day has finally arrived, and not a moment too soon,” Brand said.