Authorities broke ground on the East Metro Public Safety Training Center in Maplewood last week.
Twenty-five east metro fire departments from Washington and Ramsey counties will use the center, which will be built on 20 acres of land at Highways 120 and 5 at the border of Maplewood and Oakdale.
It will be "state-of-the-art," said Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Ramona Dohman.
The first phase of the project will cost $4.3 million. Construction is scheduled to start July 30. The second and third phases include soil cleanup and ongoing improvements to the center and surrounding marshland.
The center will include a main building for classroom instruction and meetings, a trench training area, a seven-story burn tower, a training pond and a driving track, among other features.
Dohman said the new center will give several emergency agencies an opportunity to train and learn together, strengthening their skills.