County to spend nearly $800K to construct physical testing center for fire personnel

March 28, 2019

MARIETTA — In a meeting viewed by a number of Cobb firefighters in the audience, county commissioners Tuesday night approved a nearly $800,000 bid toward construction of an indoor physical agility testing facility for fire personnel.

The bid of $798,874 from Lincolnton, Georgia-based John W. Spratlin & Son LLC was approved unanimously by commissioners as part of their consent agenda.

Cobb Fire Chief Randy Crider previously told the MDJ that the facility was expected to be built and operational by this summer within the Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services Annex at 3200 Austell Road, south of Pair Road.

As proposed, the 6,500-square-foot facility would include nearly a dozen different stations to test and evaluate firefighters, such as the stair climb, ladder carry and mount, victim rescue and more.

The new facility will replace the department’s current site for the physical assessment — the fire training ground on Valor Drive off County Services Parkway. Using that site now, however, requires the department to shut down all its recruit training as the building is “smoked up” to allow recruits to experience live smoke training, Crider said. The building has to be decontaminated before firefighters conduct their physical agility training.

A shutdown and cleaning of the current training ground is also needed, Crider added, if a firefighter is off work for 28 days or more due to injury or illness, as he or she is required to retake and pass their physical agility test in order to return to duty.

Other items earning unanimous commissioner approval Tuesday were:

♦ A resolution supporting proposed state legislation that would protect tenants from retaliation by a landlord after they file a complaint about unhealthy conditions. House Bill 346 is sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-east Cobb, chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, and passed out of the House earlier this month by a 131-25 vote. Though brought to the floor of the state Senate Tuesday afternoon, it was tabled later in the day.

Under HB 346, if a tenant were to complain about unsafe conditions and suffer a rental increase or eviction as a consequence, a retaliatory eviction could be halted and the landlord could face civil penalties.

♦ The hire of Dunwoody Assistant City Manager Jessica Guinn to become the director of the county’s Community Development division, effective April 15. Guinn will be paid $148,500 annually, up slightly from the $144,706 salary former Director Dana Johnson was earning when he left the county at the end of December, according to county spokesperson Ross Cavitt. She will succeed Interim Director Michael Hughes, who had been economic development division manager for the county but has served in the interim role upon Johnson’s departure.

♦ A transfer, assignment and consent agreement with DLK Aviation Inc. to transfer the rights and obligations of the lease and operating agreement for 2601 Cessna Lane at Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field to Little Bird Inc. The agreement is part of a restructuring of DLK assets and does not represent a change in the personal ownership or management structure of DLK, according to county documents.

The county has had a lease agreement with DLK since 1992, the first of which required DLK to construct a 10,000-square-foot hangar that would be retained by the county at the end of the lease term, and for DLK to operate an aircraft maintenance facility at the airport. Both obligations have been fulfilled, the county says.