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Allan Hancock College Offers Sneak Peek of Public Safety Complex

School officials and media get the first look at the construction site of the $26 million project in Lompoc, scheduled for completion in 2013

Kitchell project manager Abel Gomez describes the area where students will practice underwater rescues as Allan Hancock College officials and members of the media take a tour Tuesday of the construction site for the school’s new public safety complex.

Kitchell project manager Abel Gomez describes the area where students will practice underwater rescues as Allan Hancock College officials and members of the media take a tour Tuesday of the construction site for the school’s new public safety complex.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

Construction of Allan Hancock College’s new state-of-the-art training facility for law enforcement is about 40 percent complete halfway through the two-year project, the project manager said this week.

College officials and select media toured the construction site at the Lompoc Valley Center campus Tuesday afternoon in hard hats and bright yellow vests.

The $26 million facility, paid in part by a $180 million Measure I bond passed in 2006, should be partially complete by June 2013, with final completion set for Sept. 14, 2013, according to Kitchell project manager Abel Gomez.

Gomez offered the first-ever public glimpse of the facility, which sits on 58 acres near the campus and will include a fire tower, shooting range, scenario village, one-mile vehicle operator course and more.

Trustees, interim President Betty Miller and others jumped in and out of white Suburbans to see the space, which was still surrounded by mounds of dirt and mud tracks on Tuesday as crews worked on the exterior of some of the five buildings.

After showing off the administration building where classrooms will be located, Gomez led guests into a building that will house fire trucks and include a truck lift.

Officials seemed especially impressed with an underwater training facility.

“What it is, is like a maze,” Gomez said, referring to student training exercises.

The underground area will be submerged in water, and students then will be instructed to swim around and find “victims” to rescue.

Trustees took special note of the 100-yard, open-roof shooting range. Gomez said the three layers of plywood and steel in the outer walls of the shooting range would deflect bullets in a safe manner.

“It’s going to be a neat facility,” trustee Tim Bennett said.

The tour ended with a drive around the vehicle operator course, where officials traveled well below the maximum track speed of 110 mph.

Board President Bernard Jones, who lives in Lompoc, said he was especially excited to bring folks into the city.

He noted that one of the goals of the project is to accommodate joint training exercises for police, fire and EMTs to train together and simulate coordinated efforts. Students currently train in a smaller Santa Maria facility.

“They’re going to stay in our hotels,” Jones said of the facility’s positive economic impact. “There’s a lot of space and room to grow.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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