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VVC breaks ground on $32M public safety training center
By Natasha Lindstrom, Staff Writer  |  13-Aug-2010
APPLE VALLEY •   Construction began Thursday on Victor Valley College’s Eastside Public Safety Training Center, the first major project to advance as part of a voter approved $298 million bond measure.   

The $32 million center will train VVC students for firefighting, paramedic, police and corrections careers, and also be available for rent by public safety 
agencies across Southern California.   

“We needed a facility that would demonstrate our commitment to these four areas and would also be a training facility not only for 
the High Desert but for the entire region,” VVC Interim President Christopher O’Hearn said.   

When it’s completed in December 2011, the facility will feature new technologies and training equipment, including a 5-story-tall fire tower to simulate the feel of being trapped in a burning building, and a 9-lane indoor shooting range with virtual and live-fire training 

More than 100 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the facility’s 9-acre site on the southwest corner of Johnson and Navajo roads in Apple Valley, north of the Apple Valley Airport and next to the Walmart distribution center.   

Highland Partnership and Carrier- Johnson Architects are designing and building the 41,500-square-foot center, which will include 15 classrooms with 368 seats, parking for 225 vehicles, several buildings for administration, storage and laundry, and an outdoor space with training equipment. 

Highland Partnership has committed to staffing more than 80 percent of its construction labor force with High Desert workers.   

The project is also designed to meet LEED Gold certification rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, VVC officials said.   

A 200-kilowatt solar system will power 50 percent of the facility, and buildings will include high efficiency plumbing, and mechanical and water conserving fixtures. Its structural steel will be 95 percent recycled and builders are using regional and low carbon-emitting materials.   

Sixty-two percent of voters approved the $298 million Measure JJ in 2008. Measure JJ will cost taxpayers
$20 a year per $100,000 of assessed property value over an estimated 30 to 35 years.   

The college has already spent about $136 million in bond funds, including purchasing land for a future work force education center in Hesperia, setting aside funds for campus beautification and infrastructure improvements, and paying off $53 million in past debt.   

The planned Hesperia campus, originally slated for completion as early as 2013, has now been postponed for eight years due to unstable bond market conditions, O’Hearn said.   

Another $14 million will be spent on a one-stop-shop building, aimed at consolidating a variety of student services such as financial aid, admissions, counseling and more. 

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