Lakeland Fire Training Complex

Lakeland, Florida
  • Client: City of Lakeland
  • Size: 16,000 sq. ft.
  • Location: Lakeland, FL
  • Market Sector: Public/Civic
  • Date Completed: January 2021
The Lunz Group worked with the City of Lakeland and Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) to design a new Fire Training Complex to replace the City’s outdated training center on the same site. While the fire department consistently ranks high, it was built in 1960 and needed upgrades to keep up with the growing city.
The Lakeland Fire Department is pioneering new philosophies and best practices for the health and safety of their firefighters. Their existing training center, built in the 1960s, was deemed to no longer align with these initiatives. Leading trends, such as the separation of “dirty” and “clean” zones to avoid cross-contamination, were not feasible in the current environment. It was time for an update.

The LFD sought a modern-day fire training complex that facilitated realistic learning environments and training simulations for its firefighting personnel. Aligning these health and safety initiatives with a state-of-the-art training facility, LDF hoped to train the most highly-qualified teams to respond to emergencies within the City of Lakeland. The decision was made to demolish the existing facility, except for the training tower, which was to be refurbished.

After beginning design work for the new Fire Training Complex in the summer of 2018, Lakeland City Commissioners approved the new training complex in late 2019 and construction began. The new facility would provide additional space for different types of training, from outdoor laydown areas to covered break areas and indoor training spaces.

The design of the new classroom training building drew on the aesthetics and branding of the Fire Department, with cool neutral tones brightened by pops of red. The building features two indoor classrooms, a breakroom area, private offices, locker rooms, and restrooms. The new classroom building will prevent the department from needing to cancel trainings or drills due to intense heat, rain, or inclement weather.

Several design considerations were taken into account to prevent cross-contamination with carcinogens. Classrooms were split into “clean” and “dirty” with showers available near the dirty classroom, and complete separation between HVAC zones and units. This system will prevent contamination and minimize health risks for firefighters.
The new training complex also includes a small warehouse space to be used for additional training sessions and storage of equipment. The site also features a new live burn building, where the department can set controlled fires for training purposes. The burn building can also be used for search and rescue practice and rappelling off buildings. The back of the classroom building includes a covered exterior overhang area for visual sightlines of the burn building which allow for trainers to simultaneously monitor multiple training exercises.
The Lunz team worked closely throughout the design process with consultants including MES Group (MEP/FP Engineering), TLC Engineering (Structural Engineering), Chastain-Skillman (Civil Engineering) and Dirt (Landscape Architecture). Our team also worked closely with the contractor, Strickland Construction, to stay within a tight budget and find solutions to meet the needs of the Lakeland Fire Department.
This training center is going to mean so much, to provide top-quality training to the best men and women in the business.
Douglas E Riley

Fire Chief, Lakeland Fire Department