Five years after Fort Macleod was awarded the police college, the province is now in a hurry to get it built.
The sod will be turned early this summer and construction of the $122.4-million Alberta Public Safety and Law Enforcement Training Centre will get under way soon after.
“They’re really trying to push it forward as quickly as possible,” Mayor Shawn Patience said.
Patience and Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager Barry Elliott and economic development officer Martin Ebel met last week with government officials to discuss the project.
A new design and a time line in which the facility will be built were unveiled by the government officials.
“It was a good eye-opener,” Patience said of the meeting. “A lot of questions were answered on both sides.”
The government’s plan was presented Wednesday at the Town of Fort Macleod open house.
Plans for the main building include classrooms on each of two floors, an administration area, student services section, an assembly/recreation room and a courtyard.
Plans indicate there will be a parade ground, combatives building, outdoor and indoor firing ranges, a 3,000-metre running track and a driving track.
There is a three-storey residence planned to house up to 270 students at one time.
The province also plans to build a scenario room for different types of training, as well as a simulated school.
Patience said the provincial officials discussed development near the training centre.
“They are concerned about us limiting any kind of development around the site,” Patience said. “To keep them in an agricultural area would be ideal.”
The province intends to have an architect in place by June.
Patience and Elliott were caught off guard by the speed at which the province wants to proceed.
“They were hoping to have services in place by October,” Patience said.
The Town of Fort Macleod in 2006 committed $3.5-million to providing services such as water to the site.
Patience said Monday the price tag has since escalated to about $7-million, so the province will have to fund the remainder.
“They’re talking about putting a project committee together,” Patience added.
At its May 9 meeting council approved a land use agreement with the province for 320 acres of Town of Fort Macleod land.
“This is just to allow the province on site to test in advance of us getting a land transfer agreement,” Patience said.
The size of the facility is 31,000 square metres with room for expansion.
The plan is to train 250 police recruits, 250 Sheriffs and Corrections officers, 250 community peace officers and 600 professional development students each year.
“It’s moving along quite well,” Patience said.