Contract approved for public-safety training facility

Columbus has approved a contract with a construction firm for interior work of a training facility for the Columbus Fire Department.

The Columbus Board of Works on Tuesday approved a contract with Columbus-based Driftwood Builders Inc. for $518,763 to construct a 12,000-square-foot facility at the Columbus AirPark. The city had rejected a $614,000 bid from Driftwood Builders Inc. in July after the amount came in higher than what had been budgeted for the project.

City officials hired Building Concepts of Indiana Inc. in January for $273,825 to construct the shell of the training facility on Verhulst Street, which will be used for simulation exercises such as extrication and fire extinguisher training.

The facility will have two classrooms with space for 30 people in each room, while the Columbus Police Department will also have space within the building, Fire Chief Mike Compton said.

Funding for the project is being paid out of the fire department’s cumulative capital fund and money from the city’s public safety Local Income Tax fund, said Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development.

Compton said he hopes the building will be completed by late spring, noting that public safety entities around southern Indiana will have access to the training facility. Construction on the building could take three to four months to complete if weather condition are not a factor, he said.

“It’ll be a big boost for all of our township fire departments,” Compton said. “We look for it to be a good public opportunity for everybody.”