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story.lead_photo.caption Left to Right: Gaye Manning, SAU Tech Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance; Dr. Trey Berry, SAU System President; Chad Mosby, El Dorado Fire Chief; Wade Marshall, Arkansas Professional Firefighter Association; Representative David Fielding; Bo Higginbotham, Fire Chief Crossett Fire Department; Carl Ramsey, Assistant Director SAU Tech Physical Plant; James Rubow, AFTA Assistant Director; Shane Dallas, Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Organization; Colonel Steve Eggenberger, Governor’s Office; Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech Chancellor; AFTA Director, Rachel Nix; Senator, Trent Garner; Major Lindsey Williams, Fire Marshall Office of the State Police; Camden Mayor, Julian Lott; David McLeane, SAU Tech Vice Chancellor for Student Services; and Dr. Valerie Wilson, SAU Tech Vice Chancellor for Academics and Planning.

— Camden, AR — The cold rainy weather was no deterrent to the fire service and a host of other attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Arkansas Fire Training Academy’s new residential facility.

The groundbreaking brought around 150 people to the AFTA grounds on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Dr. Morrison, SAU Tech Chancellor, Dr. Trey Berry, SAU System President, Colonel Eggensberger, Governor’s Office, Rachel Nix, AFTA Director, and Chief Shane Dallas took turns addressing the crowd. Each presenter thanked everyone who had a part in the creation of the upcoming construction project.

The need for a housing facility on the grounds of the Arkansas Fire Training Academy has long been advocated by the state’s fire service. Governor Hutchinson heard the need and took action in providing funding. The facility will be 39,000 square feet and provide sleeping quarters, dining and lounge areas, study areas, offices, and more. The construction is expected to start in a few days and be completed in December 2020. Dr. Jason Morrison stated that he was thankful for the work of everyone involved, and this project has indeed been made possible because of the hard work and advocacy of the fire service and the support of Governor Hutchinson.

The AFTA operates under the governance of SAU Tech and is part of the SAU System. The AFTA provides statewide training to an average of over 20,500 students each year by delivering an average of 11,400 classes to firefighters.

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