MERIT Center History

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State of Minnesota
Regional Tier I & II
Public Safety Training Centers
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Background:
The new facilities proposed includes the new development of a regional public safety driving course featuring classrooms, offices, skid pad, driver training simulators and hand gun shooting range. Regionally, law enforcement Emergency Vehicle Operations Course training is conducted on public and private parking lots, dirt lots, and in some cases airport runways (has been highly discouraged from FAA and could be prohibited in future). These options do not provide real world training but rather meet mandated requirements. Statistics suggest rural areas account for 74% of collisions resulting in death where typically less traffic resides. Routine and appropriate training will improve liability management and enhance safety for the drivers and general public.

In 2010, the legislature allocated $1,000,000 to the MERIT Center campus to provide expanded public safety and private commercial driving training through real world course, classroom, and driving simulators. In addition, $100,000 was received from the Otto Bremer Foundation for the wind tower and ethanol prop.

In 2009, AES Wind Generation of Lake Benton donated a $200,000 Zon 750 base tower section.

In 2008, the legislature allocated $300,000 to the MERIT Center campus for completing a hazmat ethanol training prop and wind energy turbine training props.

In 2000, the MERIT Center secured funds from the State of MN to complete the first development of the training facilities in Marshall. These funds were leveraged with local participation including private donations. The MERIT Center is designated a Tier II Public Safety Training Center, one of three that have been funded. The 53 acre campus offers on-site customized safety training for both public and private entities primarily through the services of Minnesota West Community and Technical College’s Customized Training Program based in the Center. Current amenities include a five story burn training tower, multi-media classroom, water rescue facility, and a multitude of portable props including confined space, burn trailer and others.