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Funding for a proposed public safety training facility in Lakeville is coming together, with the project gaining $800,000 in federal funding this week.

The center would provide a training space for law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical technicians throughout the south metro. It would include virtual training areas, tactical training rooms, a firing range, classrooms and meeting areas, and would cost $18 million to $23 million.

It would have movable walls and an outdoor courtyard for scenarios involving cars. Training could be conducted whenever first responders' shifts were scheduled – even at night.

"There's nothing like it in the south metro, for sure," said Lakeville Mayor Luke Hellier,adding that the changing landscape of police work in recent years makes the center necessary.

He noted how many more mental health calls police departments now receive, and the need to train for virtual situations in addition to physical ones.

The project received $8 million from the state last year and officials are hoping for another $8 million in this year's bonding bill. Another federal request for $5 million is up for consideration, Hellier said, and the city recently discussed using franchise fees for funding.

City officials are still figuring out which agencies and higher education institutions would use the center The state and federal governments are the main funding partners so far, said City Administrator Justin Miller.

"We continue to have preliminary discussions with various law enforcement agencies (cities, counties, state and federal agencies) as well as higher education law enforcement programs," Miller said in an email.

Hellier said about a dozen agencies are involved in talks so far: "Our hope is to broaden this to include as many jurisdictions as possible."

The $13 million SMART Center – which stands for Safety and Mental Health Alternative Response Training – in Inver Grove Heights opened in late 2021. Though it also provides training space related to public safety, Hellier said it primarily serves the county's east side and is more classroom-based.