3/26/2004 12:00 AM
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today approved a $21.2 million infrastructure upgrade for the Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Brayton Fire Training Field, ensuring that the renowned facility maintains its status as the world’s top fire and rescue training location.
The construction project, which is expected to be completed by Summer 2006, includes a two-story structural burn building, a 14,000-square-foot multipurpose classroom building with an observation facility, and a new wastewater treatment system. The majority of funds for the project will be secured with TEEX’s capital improvement funds.
The infrastructure enhancements represent the first major construction project at the Brayton Fire Training Field since the September 2000 completion of the Emergency Operations Training Center, which is part of TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center.
“This project will allow TEEX to address our current and future training needs and respond to the growing demands of the emergency response community,” said TEEX Director Robert L. Smith. “These infrastructure enhancements set the stage for the next 15 to 20 years at the Brayton Fire Training Field as we plan for future projects that provide invaluable, hands-on training for firefighters from throughout the state of Texas and all over the world.
“TEEX appreciates the support of the Board of Regents and the emphasis they have placed on maintaining the highest level of instruction at Brayton Fire Training Field, which has a direct impact on the safety of Texans, communities and corporations worldwide,” Smith added.
Each year more than 45,000 firefighters and emergency responders from all 50 states and 45 countries come to College Station and the Brayton Fire Training Field for the latest training and instruction in firefighting and rescue operations. The 120-acre site, recognized as the largest live- fueled firefighter training facility in the world, is home to 132 “props” or specific training stations, including 21 fueled live-fire props.
The new structural burn building will replicate hotel rooms and offices, conveyer belt rooms, garages, residential areas, open rooms, a laboratory and computer control room. The 40-by-120-foot complex will allow for multiple training evolutions to occur simultaneously, increasing training capacity and creating additional real-life firefighting scenarios.
Brayton’s existing structural burn project, which represents a 28-by-40 residential dwelling, was constructed in 1968 and has endured thousands of burn evolutions. Structural firefighting projects are the most utilized facilities at the fire field by municipal, volunteer and industrial firefighters.
The new classroom facility will include three large classrooms, an assembly area, a student registration and information center, offices and conference rooms, and a communication center/scenario observation area. The largest classroom will have a capacity of more than 220 people and will double as a dining facility when needed. The Brayton Fire Training Field currently has only one facility – the fire station garage – that can accommodate groups of more than 50 people.
With a design that factors in growth over the next 15 to 20 years, the new wastewater treatment system will utilize large tanks and the latest sequencing batch reactors to recycle water from the training areas. Brayton’s current wastewater treatment system was installed in the early 1980s and recycles approximately 650,000 gallons of water each day.
None of the construction projects are expected to impact or disrupt training activities at the Brayton Fire Training Field.
TEEX has conducted fire and rescue training at the Brayton Fire Training Field since 1960. Fire training in College Station actually began in 1929 when the State Firemens’ and Fire Marshals’ Association selected Texas A&M College as the site for a firemen’s training program. Early training activities were conducted on the north side of campus at the present-day Hensel Park.
A member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX continues its mission of developing highly skilled and educated workers and successful organizations while enhancing public safety, health and the economic growth of the state through training, technical assistance and technology transfer. TEEX training and technical assistance programs include fire protection, emergency response and rescue, law enforcement, water and wastewater, transportation, career technology, marine, environmental safety, electric power, economic development, manufacturing technology and telecommunications.
Last year TEEX trained more than 130,000 students through more than 6,000 classes for all 50 states, six U.S. territories and 45 countries, while serving more than 2,100 companies and 4,000 municipalities and public agencies.