By William Croyle
ERLANGER - In 1856, Ann Brown was buried in the family cemetery on the spacious Boone County land she and her husband, Joseph, owned.
On that same ground today, just a few yards away from the obelisk marking her resting place, is what some are calling one of the most sophisticated high-tech structures in the country.
The dedication of the $7 million, 43,600-square-foot Metropolitan Education and Training Services Center was held Wednesday in Erlanger.
The center offers businesses unique training and meeting services, with more than $3 million in new media equipment, 18 class or meeting rooms, an auditorium and three computer labs.
Some features include high-resolution projection systems, digital videography, telestrators and videoconferencing.
METS officials have even dubbed the executive boardroom "Star-Trekian."
"The technology was what really impressed us," said Joe Hale, vice president of corporate communications for Cinergy.
Cinergy was one of the first to use the center's 150-seat auditorium for a meeting last week. Using keypads at their seats, those at the meeting could immediately answer questions from the speaker.
"The fact that you can give a talk and get instant feedback from the audience is very valuable," said Hale.
METS is a non-profit extension of Northern Kentucky University. It was created over three years ago by the school to help businesses with educational and training needs.
Some big-name clients include Kroger, Procter & Gamble, St. Elizabeth Medical Center and DHL.
"The greatest asset of this new building will be its value-added service to existing industries and its attractiveness to new companies," said Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore.
Built and managed by Corporex Companies, the center is just a few minutes from the airport, Interstate 275 and Interstate 75.
METS officials hope it location and technology can continue to spur growth in Northern Kentucky.
"This place gives employers the opportunity to use high-tech equipment when they need it," said Rob Snyder, executive director of METS. "We think this will be a real spark for development to the area."
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