RCCC ‘burn building’ nearly complete

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College unveiled its new fire and emergency services training facility, the first of several projects funded by a $12 million bond referendum passed by Rowan County voters in 2010.
RCCC set aside $2.3 million for the project. Initial estimates for a mock fire station to be used in conjunction with the burn building were set at $250,000, but the actual cost was $500,000. The college is waiting to build the station until it can raise the additional $250,000.
The 3,500 square foot burn building has eight rooms built to resemble commercial and residential structures. The facility includes areas for different training props, including flammable liquids tanks, a car, a fire extinguisher, a box car donated by Norfolk Southern and an oil tanker donated by GATX. RCCC plans to add a driving course for fire and emergency vehicles in the future.
Assistant State Fire Marshall Rick McIntyre, a 1979 graduate of RCCC, said the facility “will create unique training opportunities.”
“There’s a lot of different scenarios in the building,” said Roger McDaniel, Director of Emergency Services for RCCC.
Construction crews broke ground on the facility in January. Initially, the burn building was planned to be finished during the summer, but rain delayed the completion of the project. Although the burn building has been completed, the concrete must cure several months before RCCC can use the facility for training purposes. McDaniel says he plans to open the facility around March 1.
The burn building and surrounding training props will be used to train RCCC fire and emergency services students, as well as fire fighters from all over the area.
“The fire and emergency services training facility will afford our public safety providers with real life trainig scenarios that will ensure that our law, fire and emergency personnel are prepared to protect our community in the event of fires, hazardous materials emergencies, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents and train derailments,” Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of RCCC said in a press release.
The training facility is the only completely new structure built with the bond money. Other projects include a 30,000 square foot addition to the existing allied health building, transforming a former administrative building into classrooms and retrofitting current facilities to comply with standards laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
RCCC is staggering the renovations to minimize disruption to classes. The additional projects should be finished in late 2014 or 2015.