HICKORY — Catawba Valley Community College recently held a grand opening of Phase I of its Public Safety Training Center.

Located off Sweetwater Road in Hickory, the 55,000-square-foot training center pad will be used by the college to teach students as well as seasoned public service professionals in fire safety, emergency medical service and law enforcement.

“For those who answer the call when an emergency happens, the college provides the best-of-the-best training,” said CVCC President Garrett Hinshaw in opening remarks. “Today, we’re taking that training to the next level. And it’s only the first phase of what everyone can look forward to seeing in the future.”

Hinshaw shared the college’s five-year plan for building out the facility. To help launch Phase 1, he recognized the contributions of many local municipalities, including the Catawba County commissioners, who provided $3 million in construction funding.

Representatives from the college’s board of trustees and CVCC Foundation were recognized for advancing the project.

The city of Hickory donated a surplus reserve 2001 American LaFrance 75-foot ladder truck to the college for use at the training center. A traditional “push-in ceremony” dating back to the 1800s was conducted to symbolize the transition in ownership from the city to the college. Members of the Hickory City Council, Mayor Hank Guess and other fire personnel pushed the engine. It was symbolically received by Hinshaw, CVCC Dean Robin Ross, college officials and members of the college’s first Fire Academy.

Professional expertise provided by local public service agencies went into planning and developing the facility. Countless contributions of gear and equipment from those agencies will also help deliver realistic training experiences.

The college’s Fire Academy students demonstrated their skills in extinguishing a propane fire. Emergency Medical Services (paramedic) students demonstrated a resuscitation scenario using a patient simulator. Law enforcement instructors supervised simulated firearms practice.

For more information about enrolling in the next CVCC Fire Academy, Basic Law Enforcement Training or Emergency Medical Services program, visit cvcc.edu.

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