JACKSON, Tenn. — A vacant middle school building in Jackson is on its way to becoming a regional training facility for first responders.

The Jackson-Madison County School Board voted 5-3 on Monday to hand over the now-closed West Middle School to the county, The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/2dGx6Ui) reported.

Several agencies are now pursuing grants to start the training facility.

“My one opinion is that there is no educational purpose for the building,” said board member Dave Bratcher. “I believe we owe it to that community to not have a vacant building sitting vacant any longer than it has to be.”

Madison County Sheriff John Mehr said the facility will be the first of its kind in the state. Once it’s built, the facility will train law enforcement, health departments, firefighters and corrections employees.

Madison County Fire Chief Eric Turner said that many departments in the city currently have to travel elsewhere or take time off in order to receive training. He hopes the new facility fixes that issue.

“We could bring that training to them,” he said. “It’s just going to open up a lot of doors in this area that we haven’t had.”

Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com