Article Archive
Fire Academy Gets Reprieve
Nevada Fire Science Academy instructed to pursue co-location deal with state National Guard.
Volume 24, No. 2

In early February, the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education endorsed a recommendation presented by University of Nevada, Reno President Milt Glick to continue operations at the Fire Science Academy, located in Carlin, NV. The action directs the University to vigorously pursue the potential for the Nevada National Guard to assume ownership of the academy and to pursue co-location of the academy with the Nevada National Guard. This would be in lieu of a proposed capital budget request to construct a Nevada National Guard Readiness Center in Elko.

?Construction of the Readiness Center would be funded by both the state of Nevada and the federal government. With both federal and state funding involved, the proposal to sell the academy to the Nevada National Guard would require approval of the Nevada State Legislature and Congress, a process that could take up to two years. Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons has indicated his support of the potential sale and included a corresponding funding request in his proposed state budget.

?Given this timeline, the regents' action further calls for immediate implementation of a financial sustainability plan to bolster the Fire Science Academy's financial standing over the next two fiscal years. The stakeholders' task force that developed the plan included principals from the University, local community and fire industry along with representatives from the petrochemical industry, mining industry and other private-sector users.

A decision on closing the academy in response to a state budget crisis had been postponed from late 2008 to allow FSA supporters to pursue possible funding partnerships with industry. FSA owes $27.1 million in long-term capital debt and $12 million in accumulated operating and construction deficits.

?Key components of the plan include course fee surcharges and corporate gifts, as well as additional local funding by Elko County governments. The academy will work at the federal level to receive designation as part of the national emergency response and preparedness plan while seeking additional partnerships with other industrial fire-fighting training centers.

?"Today was the culmination of a lot of hard work by our stakeholders, local representatives and industry stakeholders," said Denise Baclawski, executive director of the academy. "We are appreciative of the support of Governor Gibbons, the regents and others as we explore the potential sale of the academy. Combined with the financial sustainability plan, the potential sale represents a solution that will allow continual operations at the academy.

?"The Fire Science Academy heads into the new year with a renewed sense of commitment," added Baclawski. "We have always known that a key to our success has been the tremendous industry and community support we receive. The academy is looking forward to meeting the new challenges that lay before us and we are ready to serve the needs of our clients today and in the future."


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