Firefighters from across Washington and Charlotte Counties will soon have access to some of the most advanced training in the state thanks to the completion of the expansion of Howland Hall on the campus of Washington County Community College. The existing Howland Hall has been completely remodeled to include an expanded 37-foot high bay for the purposes of the Heavy Equipment program.
“We’re now able to fully articulate some of our equipment,” WCCC President Joe Cassidy said of the new building. “It’s the best such facility in eastern Maine.” Along with the expanded bay, the building’s classrooms have been remodeled and new ones have been added. “The building now has some of the nicest classrooms on campus with lots of natural lighting for our drafting students.”
The steel-framed building’s new design was completed by Sealander architects of Ellsworth. The heating system was fully redone with heat now coming through the floor. Combined with the insulated panels on the interior walls and double-panel windows, Howland Hall is abundantly warm even with the bays open.
While the remodeled building offers a significant advantage to faculty and students in the Heavy Equipment and drafting programs, it also provides a unique facility for community organizations to utilize. One such organization is the Calais Fire-EMS department, which, under the guidance of Fire Chief Robert Posick, has scheduled an advanced regional firefighter training in the building on April 30th and May 1st.
“It’s a rejuvenation of an old program,” Posick said. “We haven’t been able to have something like it in this area for several years.” The training is traditionally offered in southern Maine by the Maine Fire Service Institute. MFSI will be traveling to Calais to conduct the training, which will include advanced firefighter training, fire officer training, and fire chief training.
Posick said that the program is being offered directly as a result of the new building. “We’re able to provide high quality, advanced training, which is important in getting the new generation of firefighters interested. We plan to offer a robust experience.” Firefighters from across Washington and Charlotte Counties are expected, with some firefighters in Penobscot County also expressing interest.
The program is a pilot program being conducted by MFSI to coordinate trainings in the rural areas of the state. “If they can pull it off here in Washington County, they can pull it off anywhere,” Posick said. “We’re very excited from a local perspective to have this level of training in this area again.”
For more information regarding the training, please contact Calais Fire-EMS at 454-7400