As part of our misson to maintain a center for training new and experienced emergency response personnel, a new live fire training building was deemed necessary to replace the one that had been in service. The old building suffered structural damage from years of use and was condemned. A decision was made in the Fall or 2010 to begin the process of finding and funding a replacement building.
Early in 2011 a committee was formed to explore what kind of live fire training facility we wanted and to come up with ideas on how to fund it. It was decided, with input from various fire chiefs, instructors and local fire officials, that our first choice for a new facility was going to be from Fire Facilities Inc, Sun Prairie, WI. The model of the new building would be the "Deputy Chief", a three-story fire training tower. The Deputy Chief offers four working deck levels and resembles a residential building as well as college dormitories that are common in the area. Additionally, this facility features a 30' tower, which is ideal for rappelling and laddering. Two burn rooms are standard on this model, one on the first floor and the other on the second floor. Cost for the building was projected to be $450,000.
In August of 2011 funding raising efforts started at the local level with canvas letters being sent out to all departments in St Lawrence County seeking donations for the new live fire facility. In June of 2012 our committee applied for a River Valley Redevelopment Agency Grant for Phase # 1 of the new facility. We subsequently received a $42,982 grant for construction of the foundation. The following June, Phase # 2 of the project received another $62,00 grant from the River Valley Redevelopment Agency. During July of 2013 efforts were set in motion to secure a $200,000 bridge loan from the St Lawrence County IDA along with a $90,000 funding commitment from the St Lawrence County legislature.
Following approval of these agreements, construction of the new training facility was set in motion. During March of 2014 the training center committee received notice of grant award for $100,000 from the NY Economic Capital Program, Dormitory Authority State of New York (DASNY). The grant was sponsored by State Senators Patti Ritchie, Joe Griffo, and Betty Little. In April of 2014 the training center committee received notification of a 2nd $100,000 grant award from the Community Capital Assistance Program of DASNY. The grant was sponsored by Assemblywoman Addie Jennie. The $200,000 in grants would be used to pay off the bridge loan. The $90,000 from the county legislature would be amortized and paid back over 10 years. In August of 2014 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a grant of $14,000 for electrical work and site work at the newly completed facility.
On September 20, 2014 a grand opening ceremony was held at the new facility. Members of the St. Lawrence County Fire Training Facility Inc. who were present included Chairman Robert Bertram, Co Chairman Robert Kerr, Secretary Paul Hull, Director Dale Gardner, Director William Russell, Director Dale McIntosh, and Co-Operations Robert White. Special recognition was given to state senators Pattie Ritchie, Joseph Griffo, and Betty Little as well as assembly woman Addie Jenne. Also recognized was the Chief Executive Officer of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency - River Valley Redevelopment Agency Patrick Kelly, the Chairman of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Jon Putney, the Area Director of the USDA Rural Development Northern Region Brian Murray along with civilian and business donors.