Ground Broken For Corpus Christi Training Center
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held May 13 in Corpus Christi, Texas, for an expanded National First Responder Training Complex (NFRTC). The $5.5 million state-of-the-art facility will offer certified training for personnel from industry, nearby port operations and government agencies.
The Port of Corpus Christi is rapidly expanding with the export of crude oil from the Eagle Ford field and the Permian Basin. It now claims to be the largest tonnage port in the United States.
Developers Reynaldo Rabagos and Dr. Bryan Gulley have operated the Texas EMS Academy/TEMSA Emergency Services for several years, but student enrollment and the addition of more classes has exceeded capacity of their existing facility.
The new facility will feature a 24,000-square-foot training building with a fire commission field for trainees to fight live fires. Water from an adjacent 6-acre lake will be used for firefighting. The first NFRTC classes will be offered in the new facility during the first quarter of 2022.
The new complex will not only cater to first responders, such as police, fire and emergency medical technician (EMT)/paramedics, it will also offer specialty courses such as hazardous materials (HAZMAT), rescue, OSHA compliance, CPR first aid and others.
Maritime Training Classes
The developers recruited Tom McWhorter of Maritime Services Group of Louisiana to offer Coast Guard certification classes for mariners and shoreside support of maritime transportation system needs. The Corpus Christi marine training will be called Maritime Services Group-South.
McWhorter said STCW training is also on the future agenda as well as tankerman training with a barge to be located in the facility lake.
McWhorter is a maritime subject manner expert and was selected to serve on several federal advisory committees and industry work groups for safety, training and regulatory compliance.
Rabagos developed an intensive EMS course to be taught over a 14-day period. The design is for students to use vacation time from current jobs to take the course and be certified to pursue EMT positions without having to leave their existing jobs.
The Corpus Christi facility is being designed as Phase 1. Rabagos and Gulley plan to partner with local industry representatives to expand to a Phase 2 development, hopefully funded with industry contributions to the 501(c)3 non-profit.
The Corpus Christi community has shown “great support,” Gulley said, with local politicians attending the groundbreaking, including Mayor Paulette Guajardo, City Councilmen John Martinez and Ben Molina and Nueces County Commissioners John Marez, Brent Chesney and Joe Gonzales.
NFRTC is a much-needed training facility for the local and surrounding area, with students no longer having to travel to Houston for training, Gulley said, adding this will be an opportunity for NFRTC to make a difference nationally and internationally.