MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – One year after the Morgantown Police Department took the keys of the former privately owned Defense in Depth facility, Chief Eric Powell said they were welcoming outside agencies and training their own members.

“We’re getting a lot of usage out of it, and other agencies are utilizing it through contractual agreements, and we’re doing our own training quite frequently, so I’m quite pleased,” Powell said.

There are agreements with WVU Medicine, University Police, the Veterans Administration, the Fairmont State University Police Training Academy, Bering Global, and Star City. A local youth rifle team also uses the facility free of charge.

“Not just firearms, but tactical stuff with defensive tactics and doing scenario-based stuff,” Powell said. “So, it’s getting a lot of use, and I look forward to expanding that use even further.”

There are plans to increase the size of some classrooms and make other changes in the building to support the law enforcement training mission. Some of those future uses could be related to quality of life and wellness.

“We’re actually going to incorporate a mat room combined with a workout facility with weights and other things to augment our wellness program within the department,” Powell said.

Powell said the facility is not and probably will never be a revenue center for the city, but he expects a steady increase in use to continue.

“I think as we move forward, generate more interest, and get people involved, I think that will increase,” Powell said.

The city is a long way from opening the facility to the public. The combination of security, liability, and safety creates complicated issues that remain to be worked out.

“Once we figure out the ins and outs of that, we might be able to start opening it up a little more, but we’re also limited on staff,” Powell said.

Morgantown city council voted 4 – 3 in December of 2022 to enter into a 10 year lease with Glenmark Holding LLC for $500,000 upfront and annual payments of $240,000.