The new Transportation Security Administration Modular Campus officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers February 24, 2017, attended by FLETC leadership, TSA officials, and the staff and students who will use the approximately 75,000-square-foot complex.
“The new TSA modular campus gives our students a firm foundation upon which to build their careers,” remarked acting TSA Chief of Mission Support Lee Kair during the ceremony. “The training they receive gives them the necessary skills and instills the importance of their critical role as transportation security officers in protecting this Nation.”
The genesis of the project came from the large influx of students beginning in January 2016 when the TSA Academy began having their new-hire training at the FLETC’s Georgia site to centralize training. The transition to the TSA Academy was integral to invest in people and further professionalize the workforce; develop an esprit de corps and sense of belonging to a larger organization; and provide a common level of training for every newly hired TSA officer while achieving stronger consistency across airports.
The original plan was to build a traditional building to house classrooms and offices, with a two year timeline from start to finish. TSA staff and students would use available classrooms, office space, and training checkpoints throughout the site. These spaces would also be shared by the other organizations using the law enforcement training center’s resources.
With an additional 8,000 TSA students and 40 staff members added to the already busy FLETC campus, leadership with both organizations realized they needed to come up with a plan to quickly provide a training complex that met the specific TSA Academy needs.
“We had an outstanding team who were flexible to not only to the evolution of changing requirements, but also ensured the TSA staff and students would be able to start training in the best possible environment quickly,” said FLETC Facilities Management Division Chief Dr. Jannett Bradford.
The new plan consisted of constructing a modular community of nine units for a total of 60,000-square-feet of space. Four of the buildings house a total of 20 classrooms, 10 simulation labs, and two mission-focused labs. Another four of the buildings house four 6,500-square-foot checkpoint labs. These new facilities allow TSA to expand its training to more than 14,000 annually.
The Modular Campus is a well-constructed complex that not only meets the needs of the agency and its students, but also was completed in an amazing six-month time frame. The sections are more complex than the normal modular building materials to meet the needs of the heavy machinery and the high-tech simulations apparatus used within the buildings, in particular the simulated TSA checkpoints and testing classrooms. In addition, with traditional construction the timeline would be more than twice as long to complete.
The approximately $11 million contract was awarded in June 2016 to Tutor Perini Corporation, Framingham, Massachusetts, who completed the project in January 2017. The modular campus was delivered in more than 80 sections that were assembled on site into a total of nine buildings. The new campus is located in walking distance to the dining facility, gym and dormitories, making it convenient for the staff and students.
While at FLETC, students spend two weeks training in classrooms and mock checkpoints to respond to situations such as screening individuals with disabilities, tactical threats, and emergency situations.
To date, more than 8,000 newly hired transportation security officers have graduated from the TSA Academy at FLETC, and TSA will train another 13,000+ frontline employees this year.
“The success of this project can be directly attributed to the cooperation and constant communication between TSA and the FLETC team of professionals,” said Fred Harpole, Director of TSA’s Training Centers Division.
Having the new training center co-located with other federal law enforcement agency training allows TSA students to engage in FLETC’s consolidated training environment, which facilitates sharing training resources and common experiences to encourage developing professional relationships. TSA and FLETC leadership both credit consolidated law enforcement training with building esprit de corps across the law enforcement community.
“The ceremony is a culmination of an extraordinary partnership between the TSA Academy and FLETC and provides another example of FLETC leveraging its partnerships to achieve training excellence,” said FLETC Director Connie Patrick.