Q: Where is the facility located?
A: On Key Road in unincorporated DeKalb County, on land owned by the City of Atlanta.
Q: How/why was this location chosen?
A: In November and December of 2020, the Department of Enterprise and Asset Management (DEAM) conducted an analysis of all City of Atlanta owned parcels of more than 10+ acres, as well as other non-City owned options. Based on their findings, DEAM conducted an additional in-depth analysis of three locations: Greenbriar Mall, Atlanta Metropolitan College, and Key Road.
For a variety of reasons including age and condition of buildings, and amount of space available for use, neither Greenbriar Mall nor Atlanta Metropolitan College were able to meet the combined needs of APD and AFRD. Other locations were ruled out for reasons including FAA flight path restrictions, space constraints, and cost.
The Key Road location became the clear choice because of its proximity to the city, its ability to accommodate the nuanced requirements of consolidating training facilities for different public safety entities, and the fact that it will save the city money in rent and transportation costs over time. Additionally, it has long been considered a viable option for public safety training, as it previously housed the Atlanta Police Academy and currently houses part of APD’s tactical training facilities.
Q: How much land will be used to build and operate the center?
A: The entire site is comprised of 85 acres. This will include over 55 acres of green space and trail access.
Q: How much money will the center cost to build, and who is paying for it?
A: January 2024 projections estimate the completed cost of construction to be $109.6 million, an increase from the previous estimate of $90 million. This increase is a result of the frequency and intensity of the attacks in opposition to the training center.
The new estimate includes $6 million for additional security and $400,000 for insurance increases. Neither the City of Atlanta nor Atlanta taxpayers will be responsible for the $19.6 million in incremental costs.
The City’s share of the training center construction cost remains unchanged at $31 million. Also unchanged is the budget-neutral annual lease-back payment to the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) of $1.2 million. This is not an incremental, additional, or new expense for the city’s taxpayers. These payments are less than the City is currently paying to rent space for training in various locations. At the end of the 30 years, the City of Atlanta will own the facility.
Q: What kinds of buildings and facilities will be housed on the campus?
A: Structures and sizes: For pictures, please visit Resouces -> Images and Renderings
Q: When will the center be ready for use?
A: September 2023 projections estimate that initial occupancy will begin in late 2024.
The Academic and Leadership facilities are being built to meet LEED certification requirements. The project team assessed the LEED building site conditions prior to design to evaluate sustainable options and inform decisions about site design including topography, hydrology, climate, vegetation, soils, human use, and human health effects. For additional information on LEED planning for the Academic and Leadership facilities.
Q: Is it true that an entire forest was clear cut to build the center?
A: No. The only area cleared was the 85 acres where the center will be. This same land was cleared multiple times in the recent past in order to house the Atlanta Police Academy and the Atlanta Prison Farm.
Clearing included the removal of invasive weeds, brush, and overgrowth, along with thousands of illegally discarded mattresses, tires, and other environmental hazards and waste. Read more about the conditions of the site prior to preparation in the initial Environmental Site Assessment.
Q: Is it true that an entire forest was clear cut to build the center?
A. Construction activities are strictly following the approved Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and Best Management Practices (BMPs) required by Federal, State, and local regulations, and LEED prerequisite for Construction Activity Pollution Prevention for the site surrounding the Academic and Leadership buildings.
BMPs include inspections and installation of double erosion control with mulch; precautions that exceed the guidelines of the NPDES GAR100001 permit.
Site preparation included the removal of:
Q: What are the environmental impacts of harmful chemicals that might be used during training drills?
A: Training plans utilizing these types of agents are on indefinite hold and a thorough review of all materials used will take place if reconsidered. Any future training simulation that will include chemical contaminants will follow best practices.
Q: If crime rates continue to decline in Atlanta, is there a need for the police portion of the training center?
A: Yes. While the downward trend in crime rates is good news, there is still a lot of work to be done. New officers need training and veteran officers need ongoing training. As is the case with other careers, professional development and continuing education are also critical in law enforcement in order to ensure the best possible outcomes in all encounters.
The new center will allow Atlanta Police to train alongside Atlanta Fire and EMS, civilian co-responders, and mental health professionals, to learn de-escalation and harm reduction techniques that reduce the use of force when viable alternatives are available.
Q: How has training been working without a facility thus far?
A: In February of 2020, after being condemned due to safety concerns, Atlanta Fire and Rescue’s training facilities at 407 Ashwood Avenue were vacated. Since then, AFRD has paid to train in rented space at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
In 2021, after 29 years at 180 Southside Industrial Parkway, the Atlanta Police Training Center was also condemned and closed. Since then, APD has tried to consolidate as much training as possible into leased space at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. Unfortunately, there are significant constraints around what can be done in that setting, on leased property. As a result, training activities have been segmented across the region and officers are travelling hours each way, for training that they should be getting locally. Each location they visit for training adds rental, transportation, and other costs to taxpayers.
Currently the city pays over $1.4 million annually in rent, to use facilities that are spread out, and that fall short of meeting the city’s needs.
Q: Who will train at the center?
A: Atlanta public safety personnel including police, fire, E-911, unarmed civilian co-responders, and unarmed traffic responders will train at the center. A small portion of their training could include joint exercises with other law enforcement agencies. Although there is no current agreement in effect, a limited number of other agencies might be allowed to utilize a portion of the facility for approved training purposes.
Q: What type of training will be done at the facility?
A: In addition to city and state mandated training requirements, the new facility will provide additional training opportunities for both fire and police.
Examples of additional on-site training opportunities for AFRD include:
1. Emergency Vehicle Operators Course
2. Residential & commercial tactical response training
3. Sprinklers & standpipe training
4. Firefighting evolution and safety training
5. Hazard drill response training
6. Technical rescue and rappel training
7. Disorientation drills utilizing electronic smoke generators
Examples of additional on-site training opportunities for APD include:
1. Anti-bias training
2. Community Oriented Policing
3. Cultural awareness training
4. LGBTQ community and citizens interaction
5. Fair and Impartial Policing training
6. Mental health training
7. Crisis intervention training
8. Integrating Communications, Assessments, and Tactics (ICAT) training
9. De-escalation training
Q: Will neighbors hear guns at the firing range?
A: As a result of input from the Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the planned location of the firing range was moved to the southernmost point of the facility, closest to an industrial park. This relocation places most residents more than one mile from its new location, mitigating noise pollution as much as possible.
Q: Will neighbors hear emergency vehicles as they practice on the training course?
A: As a result of input from the Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee, grading, and sloping, as well as a 100-ft minimum tree buffer will be used to mitigate sound from vehicle activities at the facility. The vehicles will have standard mufflers; the type used by First Responder vehicles when on city streets.
Q: How will traffic be impacted in the immediate vicinity?
A: As a result of input from the Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the main entrance was moved to Constitution Road to alleviate traffic on Key Road. Other planned improvements include:
1. Addition of sidewalks along Key Road for pedestrian traffic
2. Addition of streetlights around the site
3. Addition of public parking for trail and green space access
Q: What parts of the center will the community have access to?
A: Community members will have access to meeting rooms, nature trails, ponds, the pavilion, and other green spaces.