City approves contract for fire department training building

The city has approved a contract with a construction firm to build a training facility for the Columbus Fire Department.

The Columbus Board of Works on Tuesday agreed to hire Columbus-based Building Concepts of Indiana Inc. for $273,825 to construct the shell of the training facility on Verhulst Street. The 12,000-square-foot facility on the Columbus AirPark campus will be used for simulation exercises, while classroom space will be available as well, Fire Chief Mike Compton said.

The building, which is expected to be completed by early summer, will also be used by other agencies who want to do training at the site, Compton said. Currently, the fire department trains in the basement of Fire Station No. 2 on Arnold Street.

Classroom space inside the building would include room for 30 people, while a removable wall would allow for additional meeting space, Compton said.

The initial shell of the building will take about six weeks to put up, with additional site work and an interior buildout also planned, project manager Steve Thomas said. The project should be completed in about five months, he said.

Money for the proposed facility will come out of a cumulative capital fund and money appropriated by Columbus City Council this year, said Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development with the city.

In October, the Columbus City Council approved establishing a non-reverting fund that would be used to accumulate any revenue generated from the training facility such as classroom rentals.

The city will have a groundbreaking for the building in spring, Ferdon said.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or