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Rock Island Arsenal Fire Training Complex


To improve its homeland security and fire rescue training, the Quad City-area fire departments needed space specifically for this purpose – and they needed it quickly.


As the result of a collaboration between the Rock Island Fire Department, East Moline Fire Department, Rock Island Arsenal and Rock Island Arsenal Public Works, three new buildings were constructed on the Rock Island Arsenal. Shive-Hattery provided design and program management services for this training complex:

  1. Collapse Building Training Facility, with moving floors and walls that simulate a collapsed structure to challenge trainees in various rescue tactics during a collapsed structure event. Shive-Hattery provided site and foundation design for this facility.
  2. Fire Training Building, with three stories for firefighters to train in live fire situations by locating and extinguishing each fire and progressing to the next challenge. Darkness, mazes, stairs and roof access are incorporated into the facility.
  3. Vertical Ascent and Rappelling Facility, which simulates vertical climbing and ascension from exterior and interior spaces. By stacking 20 sea vans (similar to large truck trailers) four to five high, vertical spaces are created to simulate elevator shafts and bridges. Trainees must climb through the structure, locate openings and perform vertical rescue procedures. Shive-Hattery provided the site and foundation design, which supports the vertical structural steel spline and bracing necessary for securing the assembly.
As a state-of-the-art training complex, the Rock Island Arsenal Fire Training Complex provides training for area municipalities, rural volunteer fire departments, rural EMTs, fire protection districts, the National Guard and the U.S. Army.


The fire training complex meets the needs of the Quad City-area fire departments, and was finished on time and within budget. “Shive-Hattery’s oversight was key in this project,” says Rock Island Fire Department Chief Doug Vroman. “I was the project manager, and very busy as the assistant fire chief, so I relied heavily on Shive-Hattery. They coordinated the stakeholders and provided oversight during construction to make sure all concerns were addressed. In 2009, the State of Iowa inspected all Illinois fire training facilities. The Rock Island Arsenal Fire Training Complex received outstanding grades. We are really pleased with the training facility and how it evolves to meet our changing curriculum.”
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