City of Newark to Build Police and Fire Safety Training Complex in South Ward SID
Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, and Executive Director of the Newark Housing Authority Victor Cirilo have announced the culmination of months of intergovernmental collaboration to build a much-needed state-of-the-art police and fire safety training complex for the City of Newark.
The new shovel-ready project will be able to train over 1,700 police and fire personnel each year, while transforming and revitalizing the dilapidated grounds of the former William H. Brown Academy, located on Bergen Street in the South Ward SID, to create the first of its kind 21st century training facility. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.
Newark-based OCA Architects, Inc., led by President and CEO Obi C. Agudosi, AIA, is part of the team with lead firm Netta Architects that created the ultra-modern design of the complex. Agudosi also contributed to the design of the Nina Simone House, a mixed-use development for artists now under construction on Clinton Avenue in the South Ward’s Clinton Hill neighborhood.
The campus-style complex will be equipped with computer labs, an auditorium, parking lots, modern classrooms, a roof-top running track, a community engagement room, and a new COMSTAT center. Of importance to residents, business and property owners, and other South Ward SID stakeholders, the building will also hold community forums throughout the year and will host the training programs for the city’s Clergy and Community Public Safety Academy, in addition to providing Newark’s officers with a centralized facility.
The new site will provide in-service training of both police and fire personnel under one roof. That service is now performed at two separate city sites since the state’s closing of the Newark Police Academy in 2010. The vision is to train all new police officers at the complex, rather than outsourcing training to facilities outside of the City of Newark. In addition to saving the city significant costs, the new complex will also provide opportunities to generate revenue by providing training to police and fire recruits from other cities and towns.
The new training complex will also ensure that both Newark’s police and fire departments collaborate and instruct on Newark-specific issues and will allow the city to address the Federal Consent Decree regarding the continuous training of police officers.
The property will be acquired from the Newark Public Schools for $1.2 million and like the model utilized at the Clinton Avenue Police Precinct Building, the Newark Housing Authority will enter into a capital agreement which will be financed through the issuance of bonds specifically earmarked for projects located in duly designated redevelopment areas. When complete, the new facility will be used, occupied, and operated by the Department of Public Safety.