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Colo. college to open ‘simulation city training space’ for fire, EMS, police students

The $18M expansion of Aims Community College is expected to provide “hands-on” opportunities for first responder, criminal justice and aviation students

Windsor Groundbreaking - 2022 - 01-5152x2902-bcd2fbb.jpeg

Photo/Aims Community College

Morgan McKenzie
Greeley Tribune, Colo.

WINDSOR, Colo. — Aims Community College officials on Tuesday broke ground for a new academic building and simulation city training yard at the Windsor campus.

The college has outgrown the space at its Windsor campus, home to the Automotive & Technology Center and the Public Safety Institute, since its opening in 2010 at 1130 Southgate Drive.

The new three-story, 38,000-square-foot building will provide more classrooms for general education courses, academic simulators, a learning commons with a library and computer lab and multiple social places for students to gather, according to Aims. The $18 million project will bring hands-on opportunities for students in first responder, criminal justice and aviation fields.

As a way to simulate real-world situations in the world of public safety, five buildings will be added to a simulation city training yard. The training space will include:

* Two two-story simulated houses with basements, kitchens, living rooms, hallways with furniture, fixtures, doors and windows

* A commercial building to simulate everything from a bank robbery to a convenience store fire

* A simulated four-way street intersection that includes traffic signs, stoplights and a fire hydrant

* One search-and-rescue building to simulate navigating through hallways, attics and narrow shafts

* Building for equipment storage

College CEO and president Leah Bornstein spoke about the facility’s potential to educate students in different programs.

“The instructors can create a scenario where maybe the police get there first, so the police academy students get there first, and then the fire science students next, and then the EMTs get there third, and they all can learn how to work an actual situation,” Bornstein said.

The new space will entail a more inclusive atmosphere — including a prayer room, a lactation room and gender-inclusive restrooms — for students from different backgrounds. The project also calls for a bistro for students. The expansion, paid for using Aims capital funds, is expected to open in spring 2024.

“This project is an exciting step forward in the growth of our Windsor campus,” Bornstein said. “The physical expansion of this campus means expanded educational opportunities for students. And that leads to more job opportunities and a larger trained workforce, which then leads to broader services for our entire community.”

The nation is facing a police shortage with 86% of law enforcement departments reporting a staffing shortage, according to a 2020 survey from the National Police Foundation.

The college’s addition of a training yard is just one of the many steps Aims is taking to replenish the law enforcement deficit found in local jurisdictions and across the country. Along with improvements in education and training, Aims has partnered with Weld County Employment Services to help police academy students with tuition assistance, along with exam, equipment, training and transportation costs.

Speakers at the groundbreaking included Bornstein, Windsor Mayor Paul Rennemeyer and college board of trustees chairman Lyle Achziger.

The expansion of the campus will allow aviation classes to move to the Windsor campus and add 70 new parking spaces.

“As I said before, and I’ll say it anytime I get the chance, I am continually impressed by the thoughtful consideration, hard work and passion that so many members that the Aims Community pours into these projects,” Achziger said. “It’s just one more way that Aims lives out our motto of being, ‘All in.’”

— BizWest reporter Katherine Stahla contributed to this report.


(c)2022 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.)

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