BOISE -- The Boise Police Department wants some big improvements at its shooting range up in the foothills. Next month, the city's planning and zoning commission will decide if those plans will go forward.

The project cost is estimated at $1.76-million over several years. Police say the improvements would make the range quieter and help officer safety during training.

Boise police practice for all kinds of situations throughout the year, and weapons training is no small part of that.

When an officer has to use his or her firearm, the public expects, the public demands that that officer be expertly trained, said Lynn Hightower, Boise Police Department spokesperson.

Boise officers must also pass standards every quarter, so they have to practice quite a bit at the range.

It's actually a very good range. It can be better. So the plans are now to make it safer, make it essentially better to look at and hopefully a little quieter, because it does get to be busy from time to time, said Hightower.

According to the plans submitted, the idea is to tear down existing buildings and build new facilities with noncombustible construction. They also want to add landscaping, realign the firing lanes, and add barriers.

Currently there are 50 and 100 yard firing lanes, but what will happen is there's going to be a sound wall put behind the 50 yard lane, which will hopefully make it a little quieter, said Hightower. The 100 yard lanes currently right now need a lot of structural improvement for safety.

The department reports no injuries or deaths at the range as the result of firearms training, and says making these plans would help keep it that way.

Right now, they're taking the goals and turning those into plans. Right now, it's still in the talking stages. Here's what the city would like to do with it, said Hightower.

Planning and zoning will meet on August 5th to discuss the project.

In addition to Boise police, Meridian officers and federal agents would also use the range. It is closed to the public and only open certain hours. That would remain the case with or without the improvements.

Boise has considered other locations for police firearms training, but the department says they always come back to the foothills location working best. The city bought the range back in 2008.

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