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Gordon Cooper nearly finished with $5 million Public Safety Center

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
The Gordon Cooper Technology Center has nearly completed its Public Safety Center.
The Gordon Cooper Technology Center has not yet completed its Public Safety Center but is currently being utilized by local firefighters and other students for training.
Public Safety Center
GCTC Public Safety Center

For the last few years Gordon Cooper Technology Center has built its new $5 million Public Safety Center and while it’s not fully finished, students have utilized aspects of the building for a few programs.

According to Superintendent Bob Perry, the Public Safety Center is 93.6 percent complete but GCTC is still working on some construction details. 

“(We) hope to have a grand opening later in the fall, if possible. We do have a certificate of occupancy from the city of Shawnee to begin using the facility in a limited manner,” Perry said.

The administrator said while the Safety Center is not yet finished, many programs have used parts of the building that are up and running.

“The smoke tower, which is separate from the main building, is already being used by area firefighters for various training (activites),” Perry said. “We are currently hosting a class in partnership with Oklahoma State University Fire Safety Training school for Level 1 Firefighter training.”

In addition, Perry said other programs have begun using the main building as well as the fire tower.

“We moved our paramedic program the first week of July to the classroom and lab area. We (started) our High School Criminal Justice program August 13 in the building,” Perry said.

Perry said the total programs housed in the Public Safety Center include the High School Criminal Justice program, adult Emergency Medical Technician training, the Paramedic program and continuing education courses for fire, police and emergency medical departments in Pottawatomie, Seminole and Lincoln Counties.

Perry said in addition to students, various others will also benefit from the Public Safety Center.

“The communities in Gordon Cooper Technology Center’s service area will benefit by having better trained police, fire and emergency medical services personnel,” Perry said. “This center will likely attract professionals across the state and region for hands-on training opportunities that would be hard to replicate other places.”

The administrator said GCTC hopes to have a grand opening of the Public Safety Center later in the fall and will take the necessary steps to keep students and educators safe during the COVID-19 pandemic as they continue to utilize it.

“We are taking all the precautions like social distancing, hand washing and face coverings, like on the rest of campus,” Perry said. “Since these programs deal with public safety professions, there will be additional instruction on the proper use of personal protective equipment.”