Santa Fe College to expand Kirkpatrick Center in Northeast Gainesville

Groundbreaking scheduled for Nov. 20

Opened in 1995, Santa Fe College’s Kirkpatrick Center is home to the Institute of Public Safety (IPS), which encompasses SF’s EMS, EMT and paramedic programs and offers basic recruit training in law enforcement and corrections. The Kirkpatrick Center is slated to undergo an $8.1 million expansion in response to growing need for professionals in emergency medical services, law enforcement, and corrections occupations in Florida and nationwide. The project will include a new 24,000 square-foot facility and renovations to the existing facility.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the construction project will be held Friday, Nov. 20 at 10 a.m. at SF’s Kirkpatrick Center, 3737 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville. The Kirkpatrick Center, named after former state Senator and community college advocate George Kirkpatrick, will boast state-of-the-art emergency medical services laboratories and classrooms, a 200-student capacity lecture hall for special events, and a fitness center with locker rooms once renovations are complete.

“Few buildings in institutions of higher learning can be without equivocation labeled lifesavers,” said Santa Fe College President Jackson Sasser. “Doubling the size of Santa Fe College’s Institute of Public Safety will help save lives and make our region and the state of Florida safer places in which to live and prosper.”

Construction plans include building a fully-operational replica of a small town “Main Street” to be used for scenario-based training exercises. This unique area will feature multi-purpose storefronts with a restaurant, sports bar, café, fitness center, emergency room entrance, and a fully furnished two-story townhouse, purposed to prepare public safety professionals for response to real-world emergencies and challenging situations.

“Santa Fe College’s Institute of Public Safety produces well trained, highly-skilled public safety and emergency response professionals,” said state Senator Rob Bradley.  “I’m excited that this facility’s expansion will further enhance the program by providing students with a truly state-of-the-art training facility.”

The expansion will also incorporate advanced laser-based firearms training simulation laboratories for independent or contiguous “room-to-room” scenarios.  This is a rare level of sophistication to police academies in the nation.

“We can custom design innovative, timely and in-demand scenarios to fit just about any need, and the realism of this training system will be second to none,” said IPS Director Thomas Ackerman.

The plan for the expanded facility was designed by Clemons Rutherford & Associates Architects of Tallahassee, who specialize in public safety and educational facilities, in partnership with IPS and the Santa Fe College facilities staff. Charles Perry Partners, Inc. (CPPI) of Gainesville, has been selected as the construction manager with the intention to begin construction April 2016, for a targeted April 2017 completion.

“This short and long-range investment required vision and leadership of our legislative delegation, Sen. Rob Bradley, Rep. Keith Perry, Rep. Elizabeth Porter, and a graduate of IPS — Rep. Clovis Watson, Jr. They hold my deepest gratitude and respect, as does Governor Scott for making this project a priority,” Sasser added.

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