First Responder Center Groundbreaking Ceremony


Everyone ready to break ground for the First Responder Center. Photo from Fresno City College Facebook post

Story By: Krystle Nozartash and Samantha Morales

Fresno City College broke ground on the new First Responders Center on Feb. 17.

Despite this being a groundbreaking ceremony, construction of the First Responder Center has already begun and is expected to be complete by summer or fall of 2023, according to the FCC announcement.

The center will bring together all first responder programs, academies for police, fire and EMT into one 40-acre location at 3300 E. North Avenue in Southeast Fresno.

Funding for this project comes from Measure E ($45m) that was approved by the voters in 2016 and Measure C ($1.1m) approved in 2002.

The $46.1 million facility will include a running track, driving pad and scenario training that will train and educate future first responders with a more realistic training.

“This training means more to so many of us that words simply cannot imagine,” State Center Community College District Chancellor Carole Goldsmith said.

In an hour-long ceremony, Goldsmith was joined by FCC Applied Technology Dean of Instruction Becky Barabé, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, Police Academy Director Gary Fief and many others took time to thank various community members, SCCCD members and City of Fresno officials who were involved in the approval and planning of the FCC First Responders Center.  

Dyer said there are currently three police academies and two fire academies that run per year. When the center is complete it will be able to offer an additional police and fire academy.  

“We |City of Fresno| will probably hire 250 plus police officers over a two and a half-year period and so we need this academy today more than ever,” Dyer said.

Dyer said he believes stress-induced scenario-based realistic training is what first responder students need.

“This facility here is going to save lives in our community, it’s going to save the lives of the people that we respond to in emergencies and it’s also going to save the lives of our police officers and firefighters who are able to train at a first-class, world-class facility,” Dyer said.

The building will bring a place where students who are interested in becoming a first responder a permanent space to be.

“We had to work in different parts of the college, were always separated and didn’t really have the proper tools to train our cadets, but now we’re going to move forward with a new project that will hopefully allow us to do that,” said Fief.

During the ceremony FCC received a certificate of recognition from the Luis Chavez of Ambulance office in acknowledgement of its groundbreaking ceremony for its First Responders Center.

“May this help Fresno City College continue to provide quality hands-on training to future generations of first responders in the central valley,” Chavez said.

FCC Fire Academy Director Peter Cacossa, said this project has been in talks since 2002 until now.

“It’s kind of a dream come true, not just for me, but for a lot of folks that have been putting their blood, sweat and tears into this,” Cacossa said.

Cacossa hopes the first responder center will bring back alumni to FCC who want to advance their career into teaching. 

The ceremony was live-streamed via FCC’s Facebook page and YouTube channel for those who couldn’t attend in person.