A Revolutionary Model for First Responder Readiness and Public Safety Education

February 18, 2020
Public Safety

The new Wiregrass Public Safety Center, designed by RDG, offers a first-of-its-kind training and community outreach facility.

The City of Dothan unveiled the new Wiregrass Public Safety Center in a grand opening event on January 28. Designed by RDG, the center will be utilized for training by regional law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel, and as a space to host various public safety training events.

Situated on a 23-acre complex in Dothan, Alabama, the center provides training resources meant to prepare police, fire, emergency medical personnel and other first responders for complex, ever-changing emergency situations. RDG’s design for the center includes a state-of-the-art education and training building where trainees engage in a variety of simulated scenario-specific emergency situations. The only facility of its kind in the region open to the public, the center also serves as a place where volunteer responders and youth can go to receive safety training and instruction. 

“The Wiregrass Public Safety Center is a wholly unique facility centered around education and outreach,” said RDG Architect and Principal David Streebin, AIA. “Designing a space where volunteers and professionals train together in authentic emergency situations allows these groups to interact and bond in a way they might not have otherwise – something that ultimately serves to increase community safety overall.”

The $23 million complex was funded by a collaboration between the City of Dothan and the Wiregrass Foundation. Anchored by the 25,000 square-foot education and training building, the center also features a drill tower, Class A burn building, 25-lane outdoor gun range, tactical/simunitions house, live fire shoot house, driving skills pad, tactical village and a K-9 training and kennel facility. The training site also includes props for urban search and rescue, hazardous materials containment training and a community education residential house.

“The Wiregrass Public Safety Center is a crowning achievement for public safety in our region. It is a facility unlike any other as it not only provides a state-of-the-art training environment for public safety professionals but represents a physical bridge between public safety personnel and the community they serve. This dream was made a reality through collaborative efforts between local leaders with a vision, and meticulous planning, design and leadership from the RDG Planning & Design team,” said Dothan Chief of Police, Steve Parrish. 

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director