Construction started on Wednesday on a new public safety training center for metro high school students. Metro Tech leaders along with Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County officials broke ground on the project at the South Bryant campus.
Oklahoma City voters approved a bond issue to pay for Metro Tech’s Public Safety Academy. The academy will develop students for law enforcement, first responders and 911 communication careers.
Metro Tech's leadership envisioned the training center near SE 44th and Bryant Avenue several years ago. The now field of dirt will be transformed into what the school’s superintendent called “a city within a city.”
“Today would not be possible without our community saying this is important,” said Aaron Collins, Metro Tech superintendent.
A portion of an $80 million bond will fund the building of the Public Safety Academy and a gun range that is currently under construction. The school will house classes where metro students can become certified to pursue jobs in the community.
“I think it will be a really great opportunity for them and teach them and get them more prepared for this job,” said Dalila Pando, Metro Tech student.
Pando and Oklahoma City police officers could not celebrate the day without remembering Master Sgt. Thomas Daugherty. The late officer helped create the partnership with Metro Tech and mentored many of the future law enforcement students.
“He would be really excited for this new building and to teach us everything he learned,” said Pando. “And to show us a better path in life.”
Metro Tech has also partnered with Oklahoma County law enforcement, Oklahoma City fire, EMSA and the Oklahoma 911 Management Authority to provide training for students.
“We want to be here to help create that career for them, create that possibility for them,” said David Holt, Oklahoma City Mayor. “They will obviously benefit but so will we because this is a career of public service.”
The academy is set to open in 2023.