CFCC safety training facility could finally soon open

Reported by Casey Roman - blog|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Cape Fear Community College's safety training center was expected to open last year, but faced a delay because the facility failed inspection.

The $10 million CFCC facility hasn't been put to use yet, because two buildings are stained with a white salty substance known as efflorescence.  This shows the concrete is not water repellant, as required.

The city, county, and Cape Fear Community College built the new facility because the old tower was worn down.  The rusted fire escape, cracked floors, and walls were older than many of the firefighters who train inside them.

The drafting pit and training area was too small and the entire site was too close to residential and recreation areas.

"If years ago we'd have been burning in here then it probably wouldn't be here now," said Wilmington Fire Chief David Hines.  "It would have probably already fallen down."

Contractor D.S. Simmons was given specifications for the use of water repellent concrete of the new facility, but they were never used.

Simmons, however, has recently told college officials they've found a sealant that will have to be applied to the concrete every few years.  Simmons will be responsible for footing that bill.

"Our top priority is making sure we've got a building that's going to last as long as it was supposed to last -- that it will be a great investment for taxpayers," said CFCC's David Hardin.

The college is seeking between $75,000 - $100,000 in damages which will be shared with the city and county.

The State Department of Construction will have to re-inspect the facility before it is approved for use.

CFCC officials said they hope to have the buildings open by the beginning of next year.

The center will be used to train emergency personnel. The site includes two live burn buildings to simulate actual fire conditions, a 7-story tower, a vehicle extrication area, a tear gas building, and an area to train with law enforcement vehicles.

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