Aurora unveils new police and fire training center


AURORA | City officials unveiled a new $29-million police and fire training center Friday in far southeast Aurora. The facility includes an administrative building with five classrooms, a five-story drill tower where police can train in mock motel rooms, elevator shafts and warehouse space, and a burn building.

The facility has long been a dream of city officials, who have said the police and fire departments lacked adequate training space.

Aurora police Chief Nick Metz — whose first official act when he took over as chief almost a year ago was the facility’s groundbreaking — said the facility is especially important in an era of mass violence like 2012’s Aurora theater shooting. Those events require police and firefighters to work side-by-side, he said, so training together is key.

As she wielded a pair of oversized scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the facility Friday, Councilwoman Barb Cleland, chair of council’s Public Safety Committee, said the facility was “long overdue.”

Almost a decade ago Aurora and Denver planned an even bigger, $100 million shared facility, but scrapped those plans when the economy cratered in 2008.

But police and fire leaders said the problem of minimal training space persisted.

Last year, city council signed off on the plan to build the new training center and said they will pay it off in annual payments of about $1.5 million over the next couple decades.