Project Management Division  |  Regional Firearms Training Center FAQs
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Regional Firearms Training Center

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What is the project?
Why is a regional firearms training center needed?
Where will the center be located?
What components of the proposed facility will be outdoors? What components will be indoors?
Who will have access to the proposed facility? And when will it be in use?
Will the proposed facility be open to the public?
How much traffic is anticipated?
What will be the noise impact of the proposed facility?
What is the environmental impact of the proposed facility?
What precautions will be in place to ensure the safety of the proposed training center?
What is the cost of the project? How is it being funded?
What is the public engagement process?
What is the timeline for the project?

What is the project?

Albemarle County and its partners are working to develop a regional firearms training center, which will provide unprecedented training and education in the use of firearms and will improve the safety and effectiveness of our local law enforcement agencies.

This project is a high priority for the region, because as our region grows and our issues become more complex, joint and multi-disciplinary training becomes more critical. Currently, all regional public safety agencies train separately. This new regional facility will allow all agencies to train together in preparation for joint responses that may be required in our community. This will, in turn, improve the public safety response to incidents in the Albemarle-Charlottesville region.

The center itself will be an enclosed firing range structure with special HVAC requirements as well as noise buffering provisions. The facility’s full enclosure will allow for controlled acoustics and ballistic safety. It will also include at least one multipurpose classroom for training and education.

The proposed site currently houses an outdoor firing range, which is owned and utilized by the University of Virginia. However, the completion of the new facility will result in the permanent closure of this existing firing range.

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Why is a regional firearms training center needed?

The facility is needed for a variety of reasons:

  • Location: Currently, the closest available and fully functional training facility is located almost an hour’s drive from the police department. Furthermore, locating the training center within Albemarle County also allows local resources to remain available if needed in an emergency.
  • Cost Effectiveness: The cost for traveling outside of the County to conduct this training, including overtime, fuel, and use fees ranges from about $25,000-$77,000 per year. Reduction of travel costs will greatly benefit Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and UVA Police.
  • Opportunity for Regional Training: The new facility will allow for increased multi-jurisdictional training between Albemarle County Police, City of Charlottesville Police, and UVA Police. In turn, the Albemarle-Charlottesville community will realize a regional benefit, as the partnerships formed in training will
    enhance the local law enforcement response and/or handling of large critical incidents.

Major national incidents such as the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting have highlighted the need for both advanced firearm skills, effective regional partnerships, and critical decision-making skills. By allowing regional officers to train closely together, this facility ensures a faster and higher level response in the case of an emergency.

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Where will the center be located?

The proposed training center will be located at the old 172 acre Milton Airfield site, which is owned by UVA and currently houses an outdoor firing range. This site was determined to be the most suitable location for the regional firearms training center, given that it maximizes the partnership with the County, City and UVA and enables UVA to permanently close an existing open range on the site.

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What components of the proposed facility will be outdoors? What components will be indoors?

The regional firearms training center will be completely indoors, which will allow for controlled acoustics and ballistic safety. The facility will also house at least one multipurpose classroom for training and education. There will be no outdoor components to the project.

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Who will have access to the proposed facility? And when will it be in use?

The facility will be used only by local law enforcement and correctional officers, including police and sheriff departments from Albemarle and Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, Joint Security Complex, Airport Police, and Scottsville Town Police. This totals approximately 400 personnel. Most operations will occur Monday through Friday, during normal business hours. Occasionally, there will be times when the facility will be utilized during night hours and weekends to accommodate varying shifts.

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Will the proposed facility be open to the public?

No, the facility will be open to law enforcement use only.

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How much traffic is anticipated?

While there might be an increased perception of higher traffic due to a visual increase of police vehicles, we anticipate about a 1% increase of additional traffic due to the new facility. This amounts to between 400-560 additional trips per week. We believe that the surrounding roads will be able to adequately handle this minimal increase.

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What will be the noise impact of the proposed facility?

Noise mitigation is a huge driver in the design of the training center. The enclosure of the facility and inclusion of noise buffering provisions will help mitigate any noise created by the firearms and the facility will adhere to Albemarle County’s land use noise ordinance standards. Actually, nearby residents will likely experience lower noise levels once new training center opens than they do currently, as the existing outdoor firing range will close upon completion of the proposed facility.

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What is the environmental impact of the proposed facility?

We anticipate that the facility will have a negligible impact on pollution. Operation, maintenance, and cleaning of the facility will be governed by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, manufacturer recommendations, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.

We plan to reduce any potential negative impacts to pollution through:

  • Outfitting the facility with bullet traps to collect and contain discharged bullets
  • Disposing discharged bullets safely and properly
  • Filtering ventilation through a HEPA filtration system before being released into the environment

Additionally, we will be proactive in using appropriate screening measures including the existing vegetation onsite to ensure that the structure itself is visually buffered and does not negatively impact neighboring homes.

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What precautions will be in place to ensure the safety of the proposed training center?

Safety is a primary concern and all procedures related to firearms discharge will reflect our commitment to safety. To promote safety, the facility design does not include any windows.

Additionally, we plan to implement operating procedures that facilitate safety. These procedures include:

  • Fully securing the facility with only police access. Although the entrance security processes and procedures are yet to be determined, there will be full security steps implemented to assure the safety of the surrounding community.
  • Monitoring the facility during non-operational hours by electronic methods as well as patrolling by the police department’s sector officer.

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What is the cost of the project? How is it being funded?

The project will cost an estimated $4-5 million total. Capital and operating costs are to be jointly funded by UVA, Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

In December, the region was awarded approximately $2.9 million from the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia to offset planned capital costs associated with the regional public safety training center.

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What is the public engagement process?

The Board of Supervisors has reviewed and approved the Public Engagement Plan. The plan is intended to generally guide the dissemination of information about the project and the engagement of the broader community in dialogue as the project moves forward. Staff anticipates that formal public engagement will commence once a design team has been established in April, 2014.

Components of the drafted Public Engagement Plan include:

  • Notification of Adjacent Property Owners: Adjacent property owners and owners within 1,000 ft. of the proposed site will be notified.
  • Community Meetings: We are planning to check-in with the community several times this spring to discuss the project, review initial project details, and review project progress. Additional details about these community meetings will be distributed as they become available.
  • Website: There is a website dedicated to the project, www.albemarle.org/trainingcenter. The website includes information and updates about the project.
  • Board Reports: We plan to present our progress to the Board of Supervisors this spring, during their regularly scheduled May and June meetings.

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What is the timeline for the project?

The total time needed to complete the project is ~15-20 months from the date the Board directs staff to proceed.

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