Though it was a bitterly cold Friday morning, Gordon Cooper Technology Center (GCTC) had nothing but warm, fuzzy news to share with the community; the career tech officially marked the beginning of a huge project that will make a large impact on the community for years to come.

Though it was a bitterly cold Friday morning, Gordon Cooper Technology Center (GCTC) had nothing but warm, fuzzy news to share with the community; the career tech officially marked the beginning of a huge project that will make a large impact on the community for years to come.

GCTC Superintendent Marty Lewis offered details about a new training site that's been in the school's plans for some time.

At the packed groundbreaking, community leaders, school officials, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and students from GCTC's 1,600-mile district were in attendance.

The training structure is to be named the Marty Lewis Public Safety Training Facility.

GCTC School Board President Gary Crain told the crowd that the decision to name the new building in honor of GCTC Superintendent Marty Lewis referenced his administrative capability that fostered a culture of united purpose and commitment to serve people of this area.

As a retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol supervisor, Crain said providing the latest and best training for emergency responders can make the difference between life and death in a critical situation.

“Leaders in this area worked with the technology center without division on the common goal of making our communities safer,” Crain said.

Sharing the impact emergency responders have made in his own life, Lewis noted the support he and his family received in 2010 when his son was involved in a tragic, fatal accident on the Turner Turnpike.

“The police, firefighters and paramedics of this area deserve our respect and the best education and training we can provide for the future and existing emergency workforce,” he said.

Announcing his plan to retire months ago, Lewis will finish his role as superintendent at the end of June — so he will watch completion of his namesake from the sidelines.

The $5 million facility adjacent to 45th Street and the GCTC south entrance is set to house training for area high school students and working law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics.

The more than 20,000 square feet facility includes four classrooms, a paramedic training lab, firearm simulation room, driving simulation room, workout space, large meeting room, fire training tower and additional water features for fire equipment.

Construction is scheduled for completion in December.

Watch for updates.