Excerpts from MorrisHerald-news.com:

More than two years after Illinois shuttered the Dwight Correctional Center, the now vacant, former all-female prison is slated for new use. Dwight Fire Chief Paul Johnson said the local fire district has entered into a five-year intergovernmental agreement with the state to use portions of the closed facility to conduct hands-on firefighting training.

The prison will remain under control of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, but Johnson said the district is partnering with the Romeoville Fire Academy to create a south campus in Livingston County. The Illinois Department of Corrections transferred control of the shuttered state prison to CMS – the state agency responsible for handling state property transactions – last year.

This being the first fire-and-rescue training facility for the area is huge, Johnson said, with firefighters from Dwight and other agencies in Grundy and Livingston counties otherwise having to travel to the academy in Romeoville or the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for hands-on training. Unlike other academies statewide, which offer weekday and morning classes, the majority of courses in Dwight will be tailored for volunteer firefighters’ schedules, and will be available during nights and weekends.

Under the agreement, which still is being finalized with the Romeoville Fire Academy, the plan involves using three inmate cottages, the infirmary building, and some of the adjacent land to the west. Firefighters would get hands-on training on fire suppression, hazardous materials response, and technical rescue operations. Johnson said the state is allowing the fire district to use sections of the facility for free. He said he thinks the local district may spend, at most, a couple thousand dollars each year to build the necessary props.


Tags: , , , , ,