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Anti-terrorism training to increase at W.Va. facility

September 27, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

SUMMIT POINT, W.VA. - More than 5,000 people a year are trained in anti-terrorism programs at Summit Point Motorsports Park, and that number is expected to double now that track owners have opened another 270 acres for training.

Track officials talked about the future training during a groundbreaking for the new Summit Point Training Campus at the track Wednesday afternoon.

Gov. Joe Manchin praised track officials like President Bill Scott and his wife, Barbara, for their progressive vision in creating the campus.

Manchin said the work illustrates the need to go beyond the norm to compete in business in the 21st century.

"You all have been willing to get out of your comfort zone. This is what it's all about," Manchin said.

Manchin said the added tax revenue from facilities like the Summit Point Training Campus will help pave the way for a better quality of life for future generations.

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"We're transforming, and we need to do it smartly," Manchin said as he touched on his overall outlook for state business.

Summit Point Raceway has been known for its racing, but in recent years it has also been offering anti-terrorism training to government officials, who use it for training like defensive driver tactics.

The new 270-acre area will make room for about eight tenants who want to offer homeland security training, according to the Scotts.

Next week, work is expected to begin on a Tactical Training Center that will be used for training by the U.S. State Department, Barbara Scott said.

The track will build the facility, which will cost as much as $5 million, Scott said.

A second training center will be the Homeland Training Center LLC, which is a private company that will teach airline security, Scott said.

That facility will cost as much as $20 million to build.

The centers will have dormitories, classrooms and indoor firing ranges, track officials said.

The Tactical Training Center probably will start training in its new facility in March or April, and the Homeland Training Center LLC will start offering training in its new complex in the fall of 2008, Barbara Scott said.

The track trains more than 5,000 people a year, and with the new training areas, another 5,000 to 6,000 people will be trained there every year, track officials said.

Bill Scott told a crowd gathered under a tent at the site that the new training areas were the culmination of 25 years of hard work to develop the track property.

The progress means "no more blank looks when you say you're from West Virginia," Bill Scott said.

Mark Hunter, who is involved in diplomatic security services for the U.S. State Department, talked about how the Scotts have helped the federal government get the assistance they need in high-threat training and new weapons systems study.

"It's amazing when you come here. They're so adaptive to what we need to do," Hunter said.

Manchin also touched on other issues important to the Eastern Panhandle, like giving local government more funding and autonomy so they can expand public school systems.

Manchin also recognized Jefferson County's teacher of the year, South Jefferson Elementary School teacher Karen Hummer; Principal of the Year, Susan Zigler from Blue Ridge Elementary; and service personnel employee of the year, Gary Albright, a technology specialist in the central office.

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