NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Craven Community College gave a special announcement regarding the new Public Safety Training Center on Monday.
The ceremony was held at the Craven County Industrial Park. Several members of the community and college were present for the event, as well as state representatives and local government officials.
Craven CC President Dr. Ray Staats opened the event with an update on the recent announcement of $12 million in legislative appropriations and the acquisition of 30 acres for the new training complex. Plans for the facility took a big step forward in November 2022, when Craven CC and the Craven County government collaborated to lease the land. It will be dedicated to training firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and other first responders in Eastern North Carolina.
(Craven Community College video)
“This has been something that’s been coming for more than 20 years,” said Staats. “With the help of our legislative delegation, our Craven County commission, the City of New Bern, and a host of partners, we finally got all the pieces together. We’ll be building a Public Safety Training Center to train entry-level and skilled-level folks in all of the various emergency services. It will serve the entire region. We’re short of just about every type of workforce individual you might imagine, and our emergency services folks are literally lifesavers.”
Staats then called on State Representative Steve Tyson and Senator Jim Perry, both strong proponents of the initiative, to say a few words.
“This legislature decided that we were going to invest heavily in rural infrastructures, in rural community colleges, in rural economic development, and we did so,” said Tyson. “I’m very excited about this. I was on the county board many, many years ago talking about what could be done with this property, and while I applauded the vision of the volunteer fire departments, we didn’t think they were ever going to be able to have sustainability to build something out here and keep it alive. That’s where this facility will come into play.”
“Anytime you can live in rural North Carolina and touch the trifecta, it’s been a good day,” added Perry. “The trifecta here is our community college, it is law enforcement, and it is our men and women in our fire service. That is our holy grail of what keeps our communities together in the rural areas.”
Craven CC has been working closely with SCN Architects, local public safety professionals, and stakeholders for construction planning and appropriate allocation of funds. As funding becomes available, planning and construction stages are expected to include a 20,000-square-foot shell building, vehicle driving range with skid pad, two-story residential burn building, four-story drill tower, exterior burn area, drafting pit, hazardous waste training area, indoor firearms training facility/shooting range, and vehicle extrication pad.
Officials plan to break ground on the PSTC in 2024.