March 15, 2018 – Santa Fe College’s Institute for Public Safety at the Kirkpatrick Center recently underwent an $8.1 million renovation project. The new facility doubles the size for the training of law enforcement, EMTs, paramedics and other emergency responders.
The 24,000 square-foot addition to the current structure will provide state-of-the-art training opportunities for new recruits entering the academy. In addition to dedicated classroom spaces and emergency medical facilities, the expansion includes a fully operational replica of a small town “Main Street” area which will give law enforcement, EMT and paramedic trainees a realistic scenario-based training exercise area.
State Senator Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, said he was proud to support the expansion. “The Institute of Public Safety provides students who are training to be law enforcement officers, paramedics and corrections officers a world-class education,” Perry stated. “It is important that we support our first responders and students who aspire to put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve us.”
The new facility is fully equipped with multiple cameras, microphones, speakers and motion detectors in every room. Students will encounter training situations that instructors can change in real time, adding the element of surprise that can frequently happen in real-life situations. Individual rooms can be configured to replicate home or business settings, giving students the opportunity to hone their skills in conditions they will see when working in the field.
Technology has also been a vital implementation of the expansion. Part of the Main Street community includes three adjoining rooms that can accommodate projection screens, giving trainees a 270-degree view of a particular scenario. Law enforcement trainees will be able to practice scenarios that could involve subjects moving from room to room and the challenges that presents.
The new facility is based on models from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), where IPS Director Tom Ackerman served as a national training manager, and will make Santa Fe College’s Institute for Public Safety the premiere first responder training center in the nation.