The town of Flower Mound is looking into a multi-city training field partnership for its fire department.
The Lewisville Fire Department is asking Flower Mound and Highland Village to participate in a joint training facility, which would be a rebuild of its existing facility on E. Valley Ridge Blvd. in Lewisville. The department is set to rebuild its training tower possibly in 2021.
Flower Mound Fire Chief Eric Greaser said this project was a priority for the late Tim Tittle, who served as Lewisville’s fire chief until he died in January.
“He was passionate about a joint facility to rebuild the Lewisville training center,” Greaser said.
The existing field has a training tower, which was built in 1991. Greaser said the tower has been used by Flower Mound for training over the years, and he himself trained there years ago.
The field also includes a flashover simulator, three roof simulators and classrooms.
Greaser said the tower is no longer structurally sound because of all the years of burning.
Greaser said Flower Mound tests candidates at the facility for various non-burn trainings. Firefighters use the site for saw classes and extrication training.
For fire training, Flower Mound uses a site at D/FW International Airport. But Greaser said there are capacity limitations there.
Flower Mound also uses the training facilities in Denton, Garland and Tarrant County College, but he said travel time is a factor.
Greaser said it costs approximately $3,000 a day to rent those facilities, and those trainings take place two weeks in the spring and two weeks in the fall.
But more importantly, Greaser said, the distance the department has to travel causes several firefighters to remain in Flower Mound to cover shifts.
“We’re not accomplishing all the drills that are required under the Insurance Service Office and our pursuit to achieve the highest rating,” Greaser said.
Greaser highlighted the joint training complex in Irving, which it shares with Grand Prairie. The 4,000-square-foot facility cost $4 million. Greaser said it has allowed those departments to accomplish all of their training needs.
Greaser said the estimated cost of the facility would be $5 million if it moves forward in 2021, though he said there are some value engineering possibilities, such as pre-engineered structures, to reduce the cost.
The cost would be divided between Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village.
Greaser said when discussions of the center were previously discussed, The Colony Fire Department was expected to participate. That would have made Flower Mound’s share of the project 31.4 percent based on the number of sworn positions, with an approximate financial participation of $1.5 million if it moves forward in 2020 and $1.6 million if it begins in 2021. But those numbers will be higher with the expectation that The Colony won’t be participating.
The council showed support for the center, though council members said they want more specifics on how much it will cost Flower Mound.
“I definitely think it’s something we should be exploring,” Councilman Jim Pierson said.
Greaser said he is excited about the opportunities that would come with partnering with Lewisville and Highland Village.
“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.
Greaser said Lewisville plans to enter the design phase with the hopes that other entities will join. He said construction could begin in the fall of 2021 in a best-case scenario.