The Dane G. Hansen Foundation has awarded the City of Hays a $272,000 grant for the construction of a fire and rescue training facility.

In 2016, the Hays Fire Department began to develop a training area behind the wastewater treatment plant on Old U.S. Highway 40 Bypass. The 2018 City of Hays budget includes funding to extend utilities and continue site improvement. The Dane G. Hansen grant funds will enable the city to develop a more robust training facility in a much shorter timeframe than what would be possible with city funds alone, according to a press release from the city.

The HFD intends to operate the training facility in a cooperative partnership with the Ellis County Fire Department to better serve the region. The Hays Regional Fire/Rescue Training Facility will include a concrete pad, a three-story drill tower, a live burn building, a classroom building and a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus maze. The training facility, once constructed, will be available for use by all fire departments and law enforcement agencies in the region.

The Hays Regional Fire/Rescue Training Facility will have the ability to host larger regional trainings presented by the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute and the Kansas State Firefighters Association. Currently, this type of training is costly to bring to northwest Kansas. Several letters of support were given from area fire departments stating the need for such a facility.

"This facility will provide the City of Hays Fire Department, Ellis County Fire Department and entire region with the ability to develop the knowledge and skills needed to better protect our communities," Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Hagans said. "We look forward to the development of this facility and the training that we will be able to provide and take part in."