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More extensive work of new Joplin emergency training facility be - KOAM TV 7

More extensive work of new Joplin emergency training facility begins this week

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Joplin, MO -

Work begins this week on Joplin's new emergency training center.  One piece of the project is already on the land, which was once used for tornado relief efforts.  But Joplin's fire chief says construction crews are about to begin the rest of the project.

The site of Joplin's new emergency training facility overshadows pieces of history from Joplin's tornado recovery.  There are still utility hook-ups from FEMA mobile housing units.

"A negative, like the tornado, you turn it into a positive, housing some people who were displaced by the tornado.  And then, turning it into more of a positive to train personnel to respond better to those types of situations in the future," says Joplin Fire Chief James Furgerson.

Furgerson says you can expect to see a spark in construction of the new five-acre emergency training center.  This week, construction crews will build separate training areas for vehicle fires, chemical fires, garbage fires, as well as a place for Joplin's SWAT and K-9 teams to train.  There will also be a place for emergency crews to train on collapsed buildings.  

There's already a training tower with reusable combustion sources built inside.  It's a training tool that Joplin doesn't have right now.

"What we would have to do in the past, is find an old, abandoned structure.  Sometimes they're dilapidated.  But that's neither really efficient, nor safe," says Furgerson.

It'll all be part of land that city officials say no doubt has potential.

"With any amount of vacant ground, located adjacent to an airport that gets a lot of attention and a lot of traffic, there certainly is opportunity for future growth," says Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm.

Anselm says ideas for building up the rest of this land still need to be brought before City Council.  Some proposals being talked about are an industrial park, shops, and a motel.  

But right now, Joplin's fire chief says he's ready for the land to enter a new chapter of use.

"It's just a fantastic opportunity for the department," says Furgerson.

Joplin's fire chief will soon meet with an architect for plans to build an office building for the new emergency training center.  This project would be an addition to the current five-acre project.  The current $3.2 million project is being funded by Joplin's public safety sales tax.

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