The Lewisville Fire Department is looking to partner with Flower Mound and Highland Village for a new joint training facility.
Lewisville’s facility, located on E. Valley Ridge, includes a four-story training tower, plus classrooms, a flashover simulator and three roof simulators.
The tower, which is used for live burns and other types of training, was built in 1991 but has outlived its usefulness.
“Because of its age it has deteriorated over time,” said Lewisville Fire Chief Mark McNeal. “We can’t burn in there anymore.”
McNeal said discussions had progressed for a joint facility until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, causing cities to re-evaluate their finances.
But talks have ramped back up. Flower Mound expressed interest in the three-city partnership during the Town Council’s planning session Friday. Highland Village is still considering it.
“We’re looking at the three-city partnership to get the best value by sharing the facility,” McNeal said.
Before his passing in January, former Fire Chief Tim Tittle pushed for a joint training facility with its neighboring cities.
McNeal said the facility is important in helping firefighters stay at the top of their game.
“You can learn a lot online and in classes, but at some point they have to have live training,” McNeal said. “And this is important for that.”
McNeal said the facility will make it easier for firefighters from Lewisville, as well as Flower Mound and Highland Village, to receive the training they need. Currently crews have to drive to other locations in North Texas for specific training, such as Garland, Denton and Fort Worth. Other firefighters often have to stay behind to backfill shifts.
Flower Mound Fire Chief Eric Greaser said the partnership would further strengthen the relationship between the departments.
“The ability to share resources, to exchange resources and to train with each other and set policy allows us to be more efficient and effective on the fire ground at emergency scenes,” Greaser said.
McNeal said while no plans have been finalized, the new tower would likely be multi-faceted, stand approximately four stories and will provide flexibility with its design. He said that will be key in training firefighters for the challenges they have to face today.
“We have to deal with taller buildings,” McNeal said. “Construction material has changed, and residential has also changed. So those changes will be reflected in the design.”
McNeal said early projections indicate the project could cost $4 million to $4.5 million, though more discussions are needed to determine an exact cost. The cost would likely be shared based on the number of firefighters each department has.