MCC-Blue River celebrates opening of renovated, expanded Public Safety Institute

March 28, 2024 | Mary Beth Hope

PSI Classroom

Metropolitan Community College-Blue River will host an open house from 2-4 p.m. Thursday, April 4, to celebrate completion of an extensive renovation of the campus’ Public Safety Institute. MCC-Blue River is at 20301 E. 78 Highway in Independence.

The event will mark completion of a $4.7 million overhaul and expansion of the 40,500-square-foot facility, which is now home to MCC’s EMS/paramedic program (formerly at MCC-Penn Valley) in addition to the police and fire academies already located at Blue River.

MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty expressed excitement about the opening of the modernized facility and the positive impact it will have for students and the community.

“With the cutting-edge teaching and learning environments we’ve created at this facility,” Chancellor Beatty said, “MCC is better equipped than ever to provide exceptional training and real-world experience that ensure our police, fire and EMS graduates are job-ready the moment they are hired.”

Improvements to the space include:

  • A 5,000-square-foot addition to accommodate the EMS/paramedic program
  • A larger gym designed to support all the activities required for completing firefighters’ CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) certification testing
  • Larger classrooms to support demand and growth of the police and fire academies
  • Newly renovated locker rooms
  • Modernized situational rooms that include a closed-circuit TV system and a debriefing room
  • Large, program-specific closets for storage of instructional supplies and equipment
  • A key-card-secured firearms cleaning area

MCC Fire Academy Coordinator Dave Johnson said moving the EMS programs into the Public Safety Institute is a positive change that allows for increased collaboration.

“Fire and EMS work very closely together in the real world,” Johnson said, “and having both programs under the same roof makes it easier for faculty, staff and administration to manage.”

Johnson added that the increased size of classrooms, expanded gym and additional showers and private spaces in the locker rooms are welcome upgrades.

MCC Police Academy Coordinator James Beale said the new situational rooms closely mirror those found in modern police facilities and that the debriefing room “makes for a great learning and teaching experience.”

EMS Program Coordinator Lisa McGuire said working in the new space has made public safety faculty feel more connected to each other and the community. She said the paramedic program has enjoyed increased enrollment since relocating to Blue River, partially as a result of changes with class scheduling.

MCC offers numerous degree and certificate options for students interested in pursuing careers in policefire or EMS. All options prepare students to pass required licensing exams and begin working in their chosen field in two years or less.

BNIM designed the MCC-Blue River Public Safety Institute renovation, and Royal Construction was the general contractor.