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Members of the Fort Worth community came together on Thursday to celebrate the grand opening of the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex.
The new facility, located at 505 W Felix St., includes modern technology and advanced training environments for both the police and fire departments.
“Our previous facility was built many years ago,” Fire Chief Rudy Jackson said. “Many of the things that we use to train were out-of-date.”
Finding a new location was also necessary because of the Trinity River Vision project planning to take over some of the area where the old facility was located.
“We needed a facility that not only fits our needs today, but leaves expansion room for tomorrow,” interim Chief of Police Rhonda Robertson said.
The project was $97.4 million and funded by Fort Worth taxpayers. The mayor said the complex is an investment for the city.
“The facility will benefit the Fort Worth community by building the best trained public safety,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “If a citizen is in need, they will get the best of the best.”
The 500,000 square feet of indoor training space was repurposed from two pre-World War II warehouses, which resulted in significant financial savings.
“The history is very important to know,” Price said.
All of the original wood has been reclaimed to preserve the building’s history.
When deciding what to name the new complex, the city council’s vote was unanimous.
“Former Mayor Bob Bolen touched so many lives in this city and really got us to where we are today,” Price said. “There was no one better to name it after.”
Bolen was Fort Worth’s longest-serving mayor from 1982-1991. He then went on to work at TCU as the senior advisor to the chancellor until he died Jan. 6, 2014.
“Bob Bolen always did all he could to support public safety and this facility does just that,” Robertson said. “It helps us modernize, enhance and expand our training to educate and support the firefighters and police officers of Fort Worth.”