*News release by Butler Community College
El Dorado, KS – Students in the Fire Science program at Butler Community College will gain greater exposure to “live” fire training with a recent decision by the Board of Trustees. During the Board’s monthly meeting held Nov. 10, the group approved a recommendation to install a training tower to the cost of more than $170,000. The tower is scheduled to be operational by the mid-point of spring semester.
“The proposed training facility, along with the residency program, will make Butler’s the premier program in the state,” said Mills. “In addition, students in our Criminal Justice and our Early College Public Safety programs can also utilize the facility for training.”
Butler has discussed the need for a training tower for several years. The ability to make it happen is credited to the collaborative efforts of several entities. The City of El Dorado has agreed to provide all of the site preparation work, an estimated $100,000, in return for the City of El Dorado Fire Department use of the facility. HollyFrontier has pledged $10,000 toward the Training Facility. Other Butler County entities are also considering donations with the potential for other firefighting agencies gaining training access, thereby making this project an impactful community endeavor.
According to Anita Mills, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Early Childhood at Butler, the absence of a fire training tower left students with limited training opportunities to practice actual structural-type scenarios. The new facility will be built behind Fire Station No. 2 in El Dorado, which is home to Butler’s Fire Science program, which offers a residency program at the station.
El Dorado Fire Chief Steve Moody and Captain Troy Jellison were also on hand to publicly offer their support of the new training facility.
“This is going to be an amazing facility,” said Jellison, who is also lead adjunct instructor for Butler’s Fire Science residency program. “It will meet most all the needs for every class we offer. We’ll be able to walk right out the back door and get right to the training.”
The addition of the tower will enable the program to provide a wide variety of “real-life” training experiences that currently have not been offered. The fire training facility will be purchased from American Fire Training Systems, Inc. in the amount of $177,947.84 with a contingency budget of 5%. The three-story structure will allow for live fire burns with temperature controls and sprinkler system, the ability to rappel from the roofline, and will include a tube for practicing rescues from tight spaces.
p.s. Special thank you to Anita Mills, Troy Jellison, Tony Yaghjian, Terry Love, Sales Tax Board, College Board Members, and City Commissioners.