JLG Industries will open a $2.5 million, 15,000-square-foot customer training center this summer at its McConnellsburg, Pa., headquarters, the aerial manufacturer announced at ConExpo in Las Vegas this week. The facility features a larger bay for hands-on training, and a ground course for hands-on driving and operating skills.

The new facility will be four times the size of JLG’s previous training center, JLG said.

“We have increased the size of our bay by 7,500 square feet, allowing us to train several classes at the same time,” said Rick Smith, JLG Industries senior director of product training. “But more importantly, we can now accommodate up to four large pieces of equipment in that space, increasing opportunities for hands-on training. But what is just as exciting are plans for what we’re calling the Proving Ground, which will be located behind the new center. This six-acre tract of land will include obstacle courses and proving grounds designed to train participants in the operation of JLG equipment.”

According to Smith, the Proving Ground will simulate a working construction site. Attendees will be assigned loads to move and obstacles and hazards to maneuver around and over, including slopes, grades, and telephone poles with simulated power lines. The goal of the standard-setting training is to help participants master equipment operation as they learn to overcome some of the more difficult challenges encountered on jobsites. Construction of the Proving Ground begins this month.

The expanded indoor space will include upgrades to existing classrooms, featuring improved media and sound equipment.