A ceremonial groundbreaking hosted by Mayor Richard Riordan, City Councilman Hal Bernson and other city officials this morning will kick off the construction of a $25-million LAPD driver-training facility near the Van Norman Reservoir.
In addition to an obstacle course and high-speed driving tracks, the 44-acre site near the intersection of the Golden State and San Diego freeways will include a simulated "village" that will enable police officers to train for a variety of dangerous situations they might encounter in the field, officials said. It will have three indoor shooting ranges.
Construction was originally scheduled to begin in April but was delayed after a losing bidder sued, alleging that the partnership that won the original contract failed to meet city rules. A new bidding process led to the re-selection of the initial winner, a partnership of American Kuk Dong Inc. and Advanced Architect & Development Co. Further delays ensued while the LAPD worked out a lease agreement with the Department of Water and Power, which owns the land.
"It's a done deal. We're ready to start construction," said Greig Smith, chief deputy for Bernson, who represents the area where the facility will be built.
"This facility is really necessary. It's going to save officers in training a considerable amount of time," said Smith, referring to the fact that the LAPD currently conducts its driver training on an unused landing strip at the Ontario Airport.
LAPD Sgt. Bill Dolan, project manager for the training facility, said the project is expected to be completed in March 1998.
"This facility will be both beautiful and functional," Dolan said. "It's something we've needed for a long time. When we finish the job it will be the most technically advanced facility of its kind in the world. It's state of the art."