Sioux Falls mayor to suggest $30M upgrade to training center
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken’s administration is preparing to ask the City Council and taxpayers for up to $30 million to upgrade the city’s fire and police training facilities.
A study commissioned last year under former Mayor Mike Huether found that parts of the city’s 40-year-old V.L. Crusinberry Regional Training Center are in bad condition, the Argus Leader reported.
The current facility features an open-air shooting range, a five-story burn towner used to simulate a high rise building, classroom space, a search maze house and a course for firefighters and police officers to learn how to maneuver emergency vehicles. But consultants identified mold in the classroom building, falling concrete in the burn tower and environmental concerns at the shooting range.
“The concrete pieces are large enough to kill someone if they released and landed on the head of an unknowing student, staff member, or visitor operating around the structure,” said Tommy Abercrombie, owner of Texas-based Abercrombie Planning and Design, which helped perform the review.
The city ceased operations at the burn tower following the report, so the fire department no longer has a dedicated facility for stair climbing or controlled burns.
The shooting range, meanwhile, is open-air site with a gravel floor, a surface that doesn’t protect from lead contamination in the ground after rain events.
The training center is located on Sioux Falls Airport Authority land, which requires officers to pass through a high-security check point at the entrance of the South Dakota Air National Guard base. The process to enter and exit the facility can be time-consuming and limits the city’s ability to access its training facility when the base is closed.
Consultants recommended building a new training site on city-owned land.
The project is still in the design phase, with engineers and architects working toward determining what the eventual price tag may be.
T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office, said initial estimates suggest the facility could cost between $20 million and $30 million.
Nelson said construction would start in 2020 at the earliest.
“Nothing is budgeted in 2019,” he said. “Because it’s such a big deal, we’re taking our time to plan it to make sure we’re doing it right.”