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Community Partnership Opens old MTI Campus up for First-Responder Training


BRADENTON – This past Tuesday, the Manatee County School Board approved entering into a community partnership with Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue to provide a training facility at the old Manatee Technical Institute (MTI) on 34th Street West. This Interlocal Agreement has been a collaboration of legal, staff, and administration for both entities.

Proposed training activities include: forcible entry, search and rescue, rapid intervention, emergency company operations, technical rescue, and mass casualty incident (as was conducted at Braden River High School on August 7, 2014.) These types of trainings help first responders, as well as District staff and the community to become more prepared in the event of an emergency. Both entities believe strongly in creating strong partnerships to insure the safety and security of our community.

“The opportunity this partnership presents is tremendous,” said Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue Captain Nick Herlihy. “The training that we will be able to provide to our firefighters as a result of this agreement is invaluable.”

The partnership began with a School Board workshop, where Captain Herlihy and MCSD’s Director of Capital Projects Jane Dreger presented this concept to the Board on May 13, 2014. They described the benefits to be: enhanced presence at the vacant site, public entities joining together for the good of the community, an opportunity for “real life” training and simulation exercises and an opportunity to continue to provide training exercises for both parties. Captain Herlihy will also coordinate training for other fire and law jurisdictions who wish to join in the agreement and will ensure their exercises do not interfere with Bayshore High School operations or those of residential and non-residential neighbors.

In 2012, the Florida Department of Education (DOE), Office of Educational Facilities approved a Castaldi Analysis recommending that all buildings on campus (except #10 and #24) be demolished based on age, condition, infrastructure, and life expectancy calculations. The cost then to demolish the buildings was $1 million and given the District’s financial position, could not be done. Therefore, a temporary chain link fence has been put up to secure the campus, which has essentially been vacant since January 2013.

“When we initially reviewed the opportunity, our Board recognized the benefits of this partnership,” Dreger said. “It provides a perfect real-life training location for fire and law enforcement and the District benefits by having an increased presence on a site that is currently vacant. It was a win-win situation for both entities and I applaud the respective Boards and legal departments for hashing through the details to allow this to happen.”


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