$5.5M Sarpy County training center by 88 Tactical aims for 2015 opening

 In News Story

By: Paige Yowell, Omaha World-Herald

Officials broke ground Thursday on what will be a $5.5 million shooting range and training facility at the southeast corner of the Interstate 80 and Nebraska Highway 370 interchange.

The facility by 88 Tactical, to be completed by late this year, will feature 20 indoor shooting lanes, a cafe, a 45-foot-tall rock-climbing and scaling wall, a 70-foot-tall rappelling tower, a VIP lounge and large rooms for the company’s self-defense, anti-bullying and other classes, said David Henson, president and chief administrative officer.

The project was originally to be complete by the end of 2014, but some features — such as the rappelling and rock-climbing walls — were added later, requiring a special use permit from the Sarpy County Board, Henson said.

“We flip-flopped a lot of things on the inside … to try to maximize the space,” Henson said.

The property also would fall under Papillion zoning authority, if a recently proposed annexation plan is approved.

Papillion Mayor David Black said he would be proud to have 88 Tactical at the entrance to the city.

“It’s going to be a great resource to the city of Papillion,” Black said at the groundbreaking, which was attended by officials of the Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce; the chairwoman of the Sarpy County Board, Brenda Carlisle; and about 30 others.

88 Tactical also operates a 160-acre lodge and shooting range, opened in 2009 in Tekamah, Nebraska, which often is used by military and local law enforcement for training purposes. The Sarpy County facility will be an extension of that, Henson said. The group plans to franchise the business, and the Sarpy County facility will serve as a model for potential future facilities.

Founder and CEO Shea Degan has a 17-year law enforcement background. Chief Operating Officer Trevor Thrasher, who came up with much of the company’s curriculum, is a combat veteran Army Green Beret, with law enforcement and SWAT experience. The company currently offers more than 90 civilian courses, from the self-defense and anti-bullying courses to first-aid training and others, Henson said.

“This is a place where the civilian population can mingle with … the tip of the spear,” Degan said at the groundbreaking.

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