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Police college seeking expression of interest

Development of the $110-million Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre in Fort Macleod has entered the next phase.

The province has called for expressions of interest from developers who might build and operate the 45,000 square metre facility.

“An expression of interest is the first step in a process to determine the level of interest in providing the financial and economic options from the private sector in development of this facility,” said Kent Phillips, a project director with Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation. “We’re looking for ideas.”

Interested developers have until April 3 to respond, and expressions of interest will then be reviewed through April and May.

Project manager Bill Meade briefly explained to the 25 people at the Empress Theatre the process that led to an MLA committee recommending Fort Macleod as the host community for the college.

“The next step in the journey is to move forward with development of that site,” Meade said.

The Alberta Treasury Board has recommended the police college be developed as a private-public partnership (P3).

“We need to explore that, and that is what the (expression of interest) is doing,” Meade said. “Really the (expression of interest) is providing you with some information to get your head around what the opportunity might be.”

The project managers provided information about the police college to the public at open houses in Calgary and Fort Macleod and will then answer any questions.

“Then we’ll move into a (request for proposals) and the actual awarding and development of the engineering and architectural contracts,” Meade said. Phillips said there is strong interest in the police college.

“We had a good turnout yesterday in Calgary,” Phillips said. “Members of the architectural community as well as the development community were there and asked some good questions.”

The college will provide training for police in Alberta as well as peace officers such as special constables, corrections officers, sheriffs, private investigators and security guards.

“The scope is much more than just police,” Phillips said. “As well there is an opportunity to find people outside the province who would come to train at the new facility.”

Phillips said there is an opportunity in the future to provide training in Fort Macleod for other first responders such as paramedics and firefighters.

Phillips noted there is a steering committee in place of Alberta police chiefs, the Solicitor General, RCMP and the Fort Macleod community.

“Within the Solicitor General’s office they have several different levels of expertise that will help us develop the program,” Phillips said.

The police college, Phillips explained, will have a main building of about 35,000 square metres, a training area that is like an outdoor village, indoor firing ranges and vehicle services.

There will be typical classrooms and labs in the college.

“Then we get into very specialized training facilities for hard skills,” Phillips said. “We’re expecting a lot of the recruits who come will already have some kind of background in criminal justice.”

The recruits will receive in Fort Macleod “hard skill” training in scenario-based situations such as combatives, use of force and testifying in court.

“Our role is to pull that training together into a continuity of training and standards, and that also frames the style of training,” Dr. Curtis Clarke said. “We’re looking at adult learning that now places individuals into scenarios, as real as we can possibly make it.”

The style of training has driven the design of the college, Clarke said.

“It’s really what has fed the numbers, the size and the kind of environment we want to create,” Clarke said. “The scenario-based training was very important.”

The college will have offices for the registrar, instructors and administration, as well as an armoury, chapel, health centre and radio work area.

Special facilities to be included at the college are shooting ranges, simulation areas, combative rooms, a parade ground, drill hall and tactical area.

Instructional space will include computer labs, a DNA lab, distance learning, lecture theatre, breakout rooms and a library.

Those areas will be for the exclusive use of the college, but there are plans for possible shared use facilities such as a driving track, ball fields and running and bike trails.

Other possible shared use areas or services the college might purchase are a gym, ball courts, fitness centre, recruit residence, hotel for continuing education, food services, store, laundry, bar or lounge.

Support services that might be bought or shared include parking, material handling, vehicle maintenance, building maintenance, printing and an audio-visual work area.

“The model would be that these police agencies would form an entity of some kind that would be the organization that would then contract with the developer to provide all of the services that we’re looking for,” Phillips said.

The expression of interest is a way to gather information, Phillips said, with no obligation on the part of the government to choose any developer who responds.

The process to select a private service provider will involve a request for qualifications, Phillips said.

“Once we get a short list of qualified respondents of teams that can complete the project we will give them a detailed request for proposals that will detail all of the requirements in great detail, as well as the business terms,” Phillips said.

The request for proposals is to be out in May 2008. The contract is to be awarded in January 2009.

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Index of Police College Stories - Listed by release date in Gazette

Apr 24 - Fort Macleod town council is planning for the future

Jan 10 - Province gives Fort Macleod $10.26-million for police college costs

Sep 11 - Wildrose Party will fight for Fort Macleod

Sep 04 - Fort Macleod residents devastated by decision to scrap police college

Sep 04 - Fort Macleod asks premier to reverse college decision

Sep 03 - Fort Macleod calls on premier to reverse police college decision

Aug 29 - Residents of Fort Macleod punished for voting Wildrose

Aug 29 - Wildrose says Fort Macleod victim of Tory fiscal incompetence

Aug 29 - Government cancels funding for police training college

Aug 28 - Council awards police college permit

Aug 01 - Police training facility will be unique in Canada

Nov 01 - Province approves grant for police college infrastructure

Oct 19 - Target schedule is set to build police college

Sep 27 - Stakeholders convene to discuss police college

Aug 24 - Police college sod-turning

Aug 16 - Police college sod-turning Mon. Aug. 22

Jul 26 - Fort Macleod puts more cash toward college

May 17 - Province moving ahead with police college plans

May 03 - Council okays transfer of police college land

Apr 05 - Police college site work could start in summer

Dec 01 - Macleod finds way to build police college

Dec 01 - Macleod pitches co-op to build police college

Nov 30 - Macleod feels positive about police college

Aug 25 - Police college partner possible

Aug 18 - Council works on own plan for police college

Jul 07 - Calgary project no threat to police college

Jun 09 - Mayor pushes solicitor general for collect action

Mar 31 - Macleod’s neighbours support police college

Mar 31 - Mayor says government just has to make college a priority

Dec 30 - MD council writes to support police college

Dec 02 - Southern Alberta backs police college

Nov 25 - Regional group lobbies for police college

Sep 23 - Police college has not been shelved — yet

Jul 29 - Mayor: ‘Police college project not cancelled’

May 06 - Infrastructure minister says college a priority

Apr 22 - Facebook page supports police college

Apr 01 - Council lobbies for progress on police college

Feb 18 - Solicitor General urges police college patience

Nov 04 - Police college discussed during Question Period

Nov 04 - Macleod mayor confident police college is coming

Oct 21 - Fort Macleod ‘anxious’ for police college start

Apr 16 - Province gets nine police college proposals

Mar 12 - Macleod can do business with police college

Sep 05 - Province reviews police college P3 proposals

Jun 26 - Police college Web site created

Jun 06 - Police college project is on track

May 30 - Police college officials visit Fort Macleod

May 23 - Police college headlines open house

Mar 28 - Solicitor General: ‘Police college is coming to Macleod’

Jan 31 - Mayor strikes police college committee

Nov 22 - Steering committee meets to discuss police college

Sep 13 - Opportunity knocking for Fort Macleod

Sep 13 - Macleod prepares to guide growth

Sep 13 - Police college is Fort Macleod’s destiny

Sep 13 - Mayor weathers police college criticism

Sep 13 - Fort Macleod celebrates successful college bid

Sep 06 - Fort Macleod lands Alberta police college

Sep 06 - P3 partners sought for police college

Sep 06 - Police training centre will be world-class

Dec 21 - Council designates land for police college

Dec 21 - Macleod’s police college bid in province’s hands

Nov 23 - Task force builds police college bid

Nov 02 - Council still pursuing college