COLUMBIA — The City Council unanimously approved allocating money to pay for furnishings for the Columbia Police Department’s future regional training facility at its meeting Monday night.
The council allocated $83,593.50 from the Law Enforcement Training Fund to purchase furniture and fixtures for the new training center. Construction began Dec. 22, according to a city staff report submitted to the council.
The center is expected to be completed by late May or mid-June depending on weather, said Sgt. John Worden of the Personnel Development Unit. The center is scheduled to be fully operational in the fall, the city staff report stated.
Funding for the training center’s construction was made available after voters passed an extension of a 1/4-cent sales tax in November 2005 as part of a public safety ballot issue. The ballot issue provided more than $1 million for a police training facility and other amenities including a shooting range and vehicle space.
The facility at 5001 Meyer Industrial Boulevard is being built land donated by the Lemone family as part of the bid proposal from Little Dixie Construction, Worden said. The city received bids from three contractors before choosing the company for the project.
Worden said Little Dixie Construction's donation of land as part of its proposal helped the company’s bid fall into the department’s price range.
“His generosity is allowing us to spend $1.5 million, and without the donation it would have been $2 million,” Worden said.
The training center will have a classroom that holds 85 people, a smaller classroom with space for 24, an auditorium, and additional conference rooms and offices. Shooting training, including a firearm simulator, will be installed, and though a driving simulator is not yet budgeted, there are hopes for it in the future, Worden said.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol as well as some smaller agencies are invited to use the facility rather than having to pay travel costs to train farther away, Worden said.
Cost to these agencies has not yet been discussed, Worden said, but the gain could come in the form of better cooperation between agencies.
“Even if there is no cost, the benefit of having area agencies receive the same training will be beneficial especially during major incidents where several agencies may be involved,” Worden said.