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Posted: May 07, 2021 1:04 PMUpdated: May 07, 2021 3:07 PM

Tri County Tech to be Home of Regional Training Facility

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Garrett Giles

A Rescue Training Tower is coming to Tri County Tech (TCT) in Bartlesville and a ground breaking ceremony was held on Friday to celebrate the project.

Tri County Tech Superintendent & CEO Lindel Fields said the state-of-the-art facility will help plenty of rural firefighters with live-burn training situations. Fields said the training ground will help further the safety of our local communities as well. He said the facility is a regional training center that includes Tulsa Technology Center, Northeast Tech, and Pioneer Technology Center; the space will be available to anybody who needs and wants to use it.

Fields said this project was brought on by a vision that came to them via Oklahoma House District 10 Representative Judd Strom. He said they came together with Rep. Strom and were able to secure "seed money" from a $250,000 lottery grant.

Tara Gotwalt, Tri County Tech's Senior Director of Economic Development, said the vision of building the training tower was to be able to be a world class resource for fire and police training. Gotwalt said there are an extensive amount of rural fire departments in the area, and without the future facility at TCT, they're required to travel long distances to get the training they need. 

By brining the training to Bartlesville through the partnership of the lottery grant, Rep. Strom and other area career techs, Gotwalt said they're able to minimize costs for rural fire departments. She said the training at the facility will help first responders in the areas of safety as well.

Confined space training will be an integral piece of the instruction that firefighters will be able to go through in the rescue tower. Gotwalt said the tower will consist of three levels that will have movable walls to facilitate the confined space training. She said the facility will have live burn capabilities, and tactical rope training, including rappelling.

Weather has held up the project some, but Rep. Strom can't help but be excited about the great progress that is being made. Strom said the training tower is a great community development facility that will benefit the region in the long run. He said the facility will provide a safer and better environment for our families, businesses and properties.

Rep. Strom added that the local training facility will have a tremendous impact on the volunteer firefighters in the area that can't afford the time or funds it takes to get to the training they need in other locations in Oklahoma such as Stillwater. He said having a space at Tri County Tech will do wonders for the men and women who serve us

Strom thanked Tri County Tech for being open to his "off the wall" ideas. He thanked Gotwalt for her hard work to secure the lottery grant for the upcoming facility at TCT that will bear fruit for our communities.

Pictured left to right: Rep. Strom, Lt. Gov. Pinnell, Tri County Tech Superintendent Fields.

Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell made an appearance at the ground breaking ceremony. Pinnell said the training tower at Tri County Tech is a big deal when it comes to the regional training that they need for rural fire and police across Oklahoma. He said he truly believes the facility will be a destination point for other departments in other states in the region that are looking for training.

Lt. Gov. Pinnell said Oklahoma supports its police officers and firefighters while others across the nation do not; Oklahoma has their backs. Pinnell said Tri County Tech and Bartlesville are showing their support the right way. He said this training tower will serve as a prime example that Oklahoma should always provide the necessary training and funds that are needed for our first responders.

Pinnell said he's excited to see other police and fire departments from other states journey to Tri County Tech to see how well we treat police and fire in Oklahoma. He it's the kind of brand that they want as a state

The economic impact of the training tower will be great as well. Pinnell said people will come to Bartlesville for the safety instruction and they'll eat in local restaurants and stay in our hotels. He said bringing more people to the city will bring in the critical sales tax dollars that are needed to fund everything else.

Pinnell thanked Rep. Strom, Fields, Gotwalt and others for carrying out the vision they had for Bartlesville and northeast Oklahoma.

The Rescue Training Tower was original scheduled to wrap up in June 2021, but weather has pushed the completion date back to late July or early August 2021.




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