ROCHELLE, Ill. (WTVO) — Rochelle broke ground on a new joint training facility for firefighters.

Rochelle Fire Department and the Ogle-Lee Fire District have been working hand-in-hand with the city to create the first training facility the firefighters can call their own.

“Our job as a city is to make sure that our firefighters and paramedics and police all have the greatest training that we can give them on all the tools. So this facility will make that possible,” said Mayor John Bearrows.

Prior to the new training facility, first responders had been training in various other towns throughout Illinois.

“A lot of our training is done in-house, and if we want to throw ladders, we throw them up against the fire station or we pull those on the station. We have been pretty fortunate. We’ve had a lot of acquired structures in town that we’ve been able to participate in. But logistically, sometimes it’s hard to get people to train. But, to have it in your own backyard and be able to use it whenever you want is going to be a great opportunity for us,” said Chief Dave Swalsville.

Construction of the project will come in four phases, which will include live fire simulations, auto extraction practices, and State Fire Marshal-approved metal training facilities.

Swalsville stressed the importance of having a state-of-the-art facility.

“Your firefighters and your police and utility workers can get out and practice their trade. They can get out and practice their skills, it makes them safer, it makes them more efficient, it makes them more effective,” he said.

The entire project is expected to be complete within the next five years.