The current Winchester Regional Training Center burn building, constructed in the early 1980’s, has reached its life expectancy for firefighter live fire training activities. The building has been deemed non-compliant by the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) as it no longer meets the requirements of NFPA 1001, 1402, and 1403 standards. In addition, the burn building is not considered to be structurally sound due to its age, condition and use. It is no longer considered safe for live fire training activities. The current facility was built by the City of Winchester and was used by both Winchester and Frederick County Fire Departments.
The City was awarded a $480,000 grant by Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) to construct a new burn building. In addition, fire and rescue leadership from Clarke County and Frederick County have provided letters of support for this project although no amount of financial support has been defined at this time. It is anticipated that both entities will contribute financially once the City obtains better cost estimates. Winchester Fire and Rescue staff estimates that an additional amount of $300,000 from the participating jurisdictions will be needed as the cost sharing portion to complete the building bringing the total project to $780,000. The construction of this project will be subject to competitive bidding and the final cost of construction may be less than currently estimated.
According to the grant award letter:
- “The City has until August 31, 2016 to submit a valid building permit and begin construction.”
- “Following such date, the City will have an additional twelve (12) months to complete construction and collect the balance of their award. The project expiration date is marked as August 31, 2017.”
- The bids submitted for the construction of the burn building here higher than expected. Staff is working with VDFP to revise the building's design to make it more affordable and still meet standards.
- The revised building design was approved and construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2017.