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New Building Is Centerpiece of County's Public Safety Training Center

by and on October 18, 2019 6:00 AM

PLEASANT GAP — Centre County and Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology last week dedicated Station 82, a new building that will serve as the centerpiece to the Centre County Public Safety Training Center.

The new building will provide a storage area for equipment, along with an indoor training area. Commissioner Mark Higgins said the new building will provide more training opportunities for emergency responders in the county.

“We are here to celebrate the first new building on the grounds of the Centre County Public Training Center since it opened roughly 11 years ago,” Higgins said at the event.

The facility, at 391 N. Harrison Road in Pleasant Gap, is used to train first responders such as emergency medical service personnel, firefighters and fire police.

“For the safety of the public and their own safety, emergency responders need a more sophisticated way to train,” Higgins said. “This type of training cannot be done at a local fire hall or EMS garage. It needs to be done in a centralized facility.

“The commissioners are very pleased with their partnership with CPI to support our very important local volunteers,” Higgins continued. “In addition to equipment storage in this facility, because the facility has been so busy lately, it has been nice to have the storage ability. We also have education uses for the building. Because of the commissioner’s support, when we do have emergency responders training in inclement weather, they can come in here. Up until a couple of months ago, if it was raining cats and dogs our first responders would have to go home and reschedule.”

“To our first responders, to our current first responders, to our past first responders and our future first responders, those that are in the audience, those who are around the county and those who are yet to be born … I think we would like to dedicate this facility to all of our future first responders, you keep us safe, you keep our community safe and we thank you for all you do,” said chairman commissioner Michael Pipe.

An addition to the building will hold an area to train service K-9s, with an obstacle course on the ground floor.

Outside of the building CPI horticulture and landscape students made a tribute out of pavers for first responders of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as for those who still risk their lives for citizens every day. The Heroscaping Memorial includes depictions of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, a sitting wall, flag poles and plaques on the Twin Towers. Students worked with E.P. Henry to complete the project.

While the students had not been born yet when the 9/11 attacks occurred, it has nonetheless affected their lives, said CPI student Brittany Royer, who was the main designer of the project.

“9-11 is a day I have heard stories about my entire life. Each and every person has their own story and they can tell you exactly where they were when the towers fell — the day the world changed forever,” said Royer. “The heroscaping project means a lot to my classmates and I. We get to bring happiness to people all over Centre County. … We want to remember that when it felt like the whole world was falling apart, these people, these heroes, didn’t think twice. They went to help. We want to remember them and the lives they saved.

“Many people I have talked to are afraid that soon 9/11 will just be another day in history,” Royer continued. “A day that future generations will not take notice of how it majorly impacted our country. That is the main reason why this project is so important to me. I don’t want people to forget about the police officers, firefighters and EMTs who risk their lives for this country.”

State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, agreed with her sentiment.

“If you remember back, for those of us who are a little bit older than Brittany, 19 years goes by fast, but a lot of us made a lot of promises in those days and a more common one was that we would never forget — that we would remember," Benninghoff said. "Now, those are great words and they comforted those who were dealing with loss at the time and sometimes they are not always fulfilled to the great magnitude. The investment that we made in this project both at the county and the state level, I will echo what Commissioner Pipe said, this is an investment in our future."

State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, harkened back to the words of Benjamin Franklin: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“Here we are, trying to be preventive, trying to be prepared for the moment when something does happen. Because something will happen, we all know that. And for the state to be involved is only appropriate. A facility like this, you can’t build it with carnivals and bingos and raffles. You just can’t,” Corman said. “And volunteer fire services save the commonwealth billions of dollars.

“To end with another quote from Ben Franklin: ‘When you do good things for others, good things happen to you’,” Corman said. “And these emergency responders and these students did a very good thing here today and we are thrilled for it. Thank you for it and we honor you for it.”

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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