Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a major step towards construction of the new Public Safety Training Academy in West Garfield Park. This week the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) in coordination with the City of Chicago will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the design, construction and financing of the new 30-acre training campus on the West Side. The consolidated centralized training academy will improve interagency collaboration in emergency response, and emphasize hands-on tactical training in real-world situations.
“This academy will ensure Chicago’s public safety officials have the best tools, technology and training to best serve Chicago’s residents,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Today we are moving forward with the process to build it, making a major investment in West Garfield Park and in public safety for every neighborhood in Chicago.”
The new campus will include indoor and outdoor training spaces that both extend the current training capabilities of the Police and Fire Departments as well as offer more joint-training opportunities. The state of the art training campus will include two buildings, employee parking and an outdoor training area with key functions like indoor shooting range, diving pool, conventional classrooms, conference rooms, administrative offices, auditorium, practice range and fitness facilities. The site will also include specialized simulation facilities for active scenario training, ranging from buildings, to CTA train cars, to city streets. It will also have a driving training pad and modular units for scenario base training as well as space for Fire Department extraction training, high-rise operations, search-and-rescue, and confined space rescue training.
Together, these features will ensure the new training academy will not only improve interagency collaboration in emergency response, but also expand the capacity for first responders to receive specialized hands-on tactical training in real-world situations.
“This moves us a step closer to a combined facility that will proved not only classroom study but has the space and infrastructure to do highly realistic scenarios for both police and fire,” Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said.
“Training is at the heart of keeping our police officers safe, reducing gun violence, and improving our service to the city,” CPD First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said. “The new Public Safety Training Academy will help us to better prepare Chicago police officers to safely and professionally handle the wide variety of situations they may face. I would like to thank Mayor Emanuel and the City Council for their ongoing support of CPD and helping us to be a better agency for every Chicagoan, including our officers.”
The RFQ for Design-Build-Finance entities will be issued this week; responses are due at 4 P.M. CST on Nov. 20, 2017. A copy of the RFQ will be available for download at ChicagoInfrastructure.org. A pre-submittal conference and networking event will be held at the Garfield Park Conservatory at 10 A.M. on October 25th.
“I enthusiastically support this project, which will be a definite win-win for the city’s diverse west side communities,” Alderman Emma Mitts (37th) said. “It will provide a strong economic investment, creating jobs and expanding resources in the 37th Ward, while increasing public safety for residents in every part of Chicago. I look forward to getting started and breaking ground.”
The move is the latest by the Emanuel administration to improve local neighborhoods through innovative partnerships. In February, the Mayor announced 2FM headquarters would move from West Town to Englewood (69th and Wentworth Ave.), along with 200 jobs. The new facility will be funded in part by proceeds from the sale of the site on N. Throop Street. Additionally, a new branch library on the Near West Side and a new fire station on the Near North Side are being planned through public-private partnerships with local developers. Last week the Mayor announced the City Colleges of Chicago is accepting bids for its downtown headquarters building in preparation for a move closer to its students in the neighborhoods.
The estimated cost for the proposed Public Safety Training Academy, including land acquisition, is $95 million. A portion of the Project funding will be from the sale of city-owned land at 1685 N. Throop St. Following a competitive bidding process, the City has reached a tentative agreement to sell the 18-acre site to local developer Sterling Bay for $104.7 million, or $133.53 per square foot. Closing is expected to occur later this year. At least $20 million of the sale of 1685 N. Throop St. will go towards the Public Safety Training Academy, which will support design and construction of the new academy.