15th Street training center reaps state award

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By Denyse Clark

A 15th Street multi-purpose training facility for police, fire and EMS earned the city of Lancaster an achievement award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s (MASC) 74th annual meeting on Saturday, July 12. 

Among the 26 cities and towns that submitted projects, Lancaster won in the 5,001 to 10,000 population category. 

“It was an effort by the city and county,” Lancaster Mayor Joe Shaw said. “It’s great for the city and law enforcement and we open it (the facility) up to other cities for training.”

The city acquired the 15th Street building in 2004 from Springs Industries, Shaw said. After the Lancaster Police Department and Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office had outgrown their offices, officials considered renovating the dilapidated building for space where multiple departments of the city and county could congregate.  

The 90,000 square-foot abandoned textile building was relegated to be used as storage facility because of inadequate water lines on the property, but city officials collaborated with Lancaster County officials and plans developed for a multi-department facility. 

Funding for the project came from the city and county, along with financial support from Duke Energy and a S.C. Department of Commerce grant. 

When the project was complete, the building was transformed into a community space for city and county services, including police, fire, EMS and public works offices. Meeting space is also available to civic and community groups free of charge. 

“The third floor is a city within itself,” Shaw said noting an indoor training facility has already been used by other public safety departments across the state. 

This “city” includes mock-ups of an apartment, doctor’s office and convenience store so emergency services can prepare for most any type scenario. 

Lancaster Fire Department Chief Chuck Small said the 15th Street training facility is an invaluable asset where local firefighters have developed a partnership with Rock Hill firefighters to engage in mutual training exercises. 

“It’s a vast amount of help to us,” Small said. “A few of the props are certified through the S.C. Fire Academy so our guys can get the sane training and certification as they can get going to Columbia.”

Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association of South Carolina, commended the city of Lancaster for its award-winning project.

“The 15th Street project provided enhanced capacities for city and county staff while simultaneously creating safety and stability for a transitional neighborhood in Lancaster,” she said.


Contact reporter Denyse Clark at (803) 283-1152