Fieldside Center Building in the summer

Nicolet College Opens New Public Safety Building


A new facility that will be used to train future and current law enforcement officers, emergency medical services providers, firefighters, and emergency responders is officially open on the Nicolet College campus in Rhinelander. The College broke ground on the 11,600 square-foot building in the fall of 2021. It opened its doors to students this fall, teaching various programs including criminal justice, firefighter training, emergency medical services, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety.

"There’s a shortage of volunteers, emergency medical responders, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and law enforcement officers, not only in the Nicolet College District, but throughout the state and country. We are hoping to attract new students, retain our current students, and be able to serve our agencies with high quality students that graduate from Nicolet College," says Nicolet College Associate Dean of Public Safety Jason Goeldner.

According to Vilas County Chief Deputy Patrick Schmidt, this state-of-the-art training facility will have an immediate impact in the Northwoods, both fiscally and educationally. Schmidt says, “Typically, when we have to send officers to specialized training, it's down to Wausau, Madison, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and to be able to send out people to our backyard is tremendous. It's not only the convenience, but the level of instruction that they get here at Nicolet College is top notch."

Schmidt adds that as more people move to the Northwoods, the training that Nicolet College provides will continue to make the Northwoods a safe place to live, work, and raise a family. Schmidt comments, “Law enforcement is one small piece of creating that quality of life that people expect. Nicolet College gives us that ability to train our personnel so they can provide that for our community.”

The $1.5 million building houses four classrooms, an apparatus bay, a training simulator, fire truck, ambulance, patrol vehicles, and safety gear, all to provide hands-on learning opportunities for Nicolet College students. “This will provide excellent training and technology opportunities all in one location. That means our local agencies can have their personnel trained by instructors and other professionals who live and work here in the Northwoods, which allows us to focus on the unique aspects of serving our rural area,” says Nicolet College Criminal Justice Instructor Brad Fogerty.