by Andrew Crisp
A Boise Fire Department training facility near the Boise River could be relocated by as early as 2014, according to a report scheduled to be presented to the Boise City Council in a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Fire Chief Dennis Doan will highlight the department's Capital Improvement Plan, which outlines fiscal priorities for repair, maintenance and investment for Boise's firefighting department through the next eight years.
One of those priorities is the replacement and relocation of a firefighting training facility on Shoreline Drive, near the Boise River and I-84 Connector. The current burn tower, visible from the freeway, is more than 40 years old, and has been deemed "structurally unsound for long term use," according to the lengthy planning document.
In addition, the existing site is too small for training drills of adequate size, puts constraints on water and foam usage and cannot accomodate enough space for important training props, such as submerged vehicle training and car fire training.
According to the report, the department is working with Department of Public Works to identify a new location, examining potential sites in east and west Boise with at least 15 acres, which could accomodate a new burn tower, drafting pit for annual fire engine testing and props for hazardous material training.
A joint study conducted by the Boise Fire and Police departments in 2009 identified the need for a $40 million training facility. However, the report states that "it would be advisable to look for solutions that could be implemented incrementally."
The priority is replacing and relocating the burn tower, proposed for funding in 2014 at $3.8 million. After that, the department will consider future phases through 2019.