OC Bond Would Provide Improvements to EMS/Firefighting Program

By Abby Reed
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - If passed, the Odessa College Bond would provide $68.5 million for school improvements. Right now, the Fire Academy heavily relies on the Odessa Fire Department's training grounds, but if the voters say yes to the bond, $3 million of that money would go to the college's Fire and EMS departments, helping provide their own training grounds.

"It's not very conducive to learning, as far as the students go," Fire Director, David Parker, said.

For the past several years, students and teachers have had to make due with the old insulation falling from the ceilings and the bad air conditioning and heating in the main training space.

"Our truck room area isn't heated or cooled, and our fire truck has water in it, so we have to be really careful that it doesn't freeze and cause our plumbing to break," Parker said.

The department is also short on space.

"We're having to do some creative scheduling, so that we have the availability in these classrooms" Paramedic Director, Stephen Parker, said.

Berry is hopeful Odessa residents will approve the OC Bond. On the EMS side, it would provide bigger classrooms.

"(It) will allow us to share equipment with nursing, so we'll have access to a lot more equipment," Berry said.

"On the fire side, we plan on getting a training room and also a drill tower, we'll actually have an asphalt are where we can do hose evolutions, here on campus," Parker said.

Teachers are obviously in favor of the bond, but so are students.  Oscar Menchaca is getting ready to graduate with his paramedic license.  Already an Odessa firefighter, he says the bond passage would make an already good department, even better.

"I think that's going to be a good opportunity for the program to grow and for the future of the college," Menchaca said.

The Bond is on the November 2nd ballot.