SILVERDALE — A “hostage” will be rescued from the Silverdale Billie Eder Community Center as law enforcement officer and firefighters use the center for training purposes before the building is torn down.
The former church, day-care facility, education center, public gathering space, government office and community theater will be the site of tactical training for units of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
The public is invited to view the exercises which begin 10 a.m. May 27 at 9729 Silverdale Way NW.
“I’m going to be a hostage. It’s an active hostage exercise,” said Kitsap County Commissioner Ed Wolfe at the Central Kitsap Community Council meeting May 19.
County employee Angie Silva said, “We’re going to do an explosive entry exercise utilizing state patrol regional bomb squad who will blow the internal door in the Evergreen Room. Commissioner Wolfe is happy to be a hostage during this event.”
A K9 police dog demonstration and a mock incident involving a threat with a firearm will follow.
Crews from Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue also will be on scene. The public is welcome to observe the demonstrations. Those who want a close-up view should bring sunglasses, safety glasses or some other kind of eye protection.
“Before we demolish the community center this summer, we want to utilize the building one last time to provide a tactical demonstration of our law enforcement responding to high risk situations,” Wolfe said.
“This is an opportunity to present to the public the specialized training that helps prepare our sheriff’s deputies for critical incident situations.”
The opportunity to participate in this type of training is significant for members of the sheriff’s SWAT team.
“Recently, we have been conducting county-wide training for large-scale events with our law enforcement partners and this is another useful opportunity for all of us,” said CKFR Fire Chief Scott Weninger.
This training event is scheduled to last approximately 90 minutes.
The community center was constructed in 1958. Kitsap County acquired the building in the mid-1990s and it has served as a facility within the infrastructure of the Kitsap County Parks Department. The center has been closed to public use for some time and is slated for demolition because of increasing costs of continuous repairs due to the building’s age and problems with structural and mechanical deficiencies.
The vacated property will be redeveloped as part of the Central Kitsap Community Campus. The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners this week met to talk about the redevelopment of the campus, which should take place over the next three years.
At this time, the focus is on “due diligence” planning, which is expected to take one year to complete. This phase will look into how to incorporate private-public ventures can be used for the campus, how parking, pedestrian traffic and vehicle traffic will access the site and how the campus can connect to Clear Creek Trail.
How to provide community meeting space will also be studied. When the community center closed last year, important meeting space was lost. Meeting space might be available when a new CK high school and new CK middle school, new library and theater are built.
The county plans to create three design scenarios for a new campus and public meetings will be held to seek the public’s input.