Mayor Graham Richard today led a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on the new Regional Public Safety Academy at Southtown Centre. Mayor Richard was joined by state and local elected officials, Public Safety Foundation members, education partners, and neighborhood leaders.

The 132,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility will provide police, fire, emergency medical services, and homeland security training and education for professionals and students from northeast Indiana and across the Midwest. The academy will also play a prominent role in the newly developing mandated state fire training for the 3rd district in northeast Indiana.

Education partners include Ivy Tech, IPFW, Indiana Tech, Taylor University, the University of St. Francis, Tri-State University, and Fort Wayne Community Schools (Anthis Career Center). The educational institutions will use classroom space at the academy to teach and train students to become public safety professionals.

“This new regional asset serves as a model for public safety training and preparedness, said Mayor Richard. “We are building high trust, high performance partnerships with agencies across northeast Indiana and the Midwest region. Residents will benefit from trained professionals that will have the skills to work together in an emergency. We are a leader in providing excellent services.”

Hagerman Construction is the general contractor for the project. The total cost of the project is $27 million. The project is financed through a City Council approved $24 million bond. Additional sources include $15 million from the Indiana General Assembly through Ivy Tech. Property taxes are not being used to finance the academy. The academy is scheduled to open in November 2007.