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Cincinnati Fire breaks ground on expanded campus for recruits

Zack Carreon
Fire Chief Michael Washington, City Manager Sheryl Long, Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Evans Nwankwo from Megen Constrcution and Council Member Scotty Johnson were among those who took part in the groundbreaking Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022.

A new campus for training Cincinnati's firefighter recruits is coming to the city's Millvale neighborhood.

"The city has prioritized public safety and this is one of those initiatives, one of those projects, that has been well overdue," Fire Chief Michael Washington said.

The updated campus will expand on the fire department's current training facility at the site. The construction will add a building for education and administrative services along with an indoor training center and training tower.

$13.623 million will be invested into the new project that will begin construction in the fall of 2023.

Chief Washington says the new facility will be a big step for the department and increase its efficiency.

The campus will consolidate Cincinnati Fire's other training sites around the area into one location and will allow recruits to get hands-on experience year-round.

"What the facility will do for us, most importantly, will provide us with the ability to train inside during inclement weather," said Washington. "It gives us that advantage for what we actually do."

Live fire training exercises currently take place at the location. The site is in the vicinity of a residential neighborhood and an elementary school, but Washington says the refreshed training center shouldn't produce any additional smoke pollution.

"We've augmented some of the things that we do down here," Washington said. "The things that we're adding to this facility are not construction items that cause pollution. One of the buildings will be an educational building — which we don't burn in the educational building. Number two is the high bay buildings — we don't burn in the high bay buildings where the apparatus is stored and we have the indoor training. And three, the seven-story drill tower, there's no fire training in that building as well."

Cincinnati-based Megen Construction and MSA Design will construct the facilities for the use of Cincinnati Fire and other nearby fire departments. The campus is set to open by the end of 2024.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.