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MAC closes range

Mineral Area College has closed the trap and skeet range on its Park Hills campus and will eventually move it to the Darrell S. Cole Shooting Range at St. Joe State Park.

Mineral Area College has permanently closed the on-campus skeet shooting range and will eventually move it to the existing shooting range in St. Joe State Park.

MAC President Dr. Joe Gilgour explained the reason behind the closure.

“In the long term the plans were always to move it to the Darrell S. Cole Shooting Range in St. Joe Park,” he said. “That was always part of the deal. The accessibility should be the same or actually improved as far as hours wise because it will have better supervision, being under one place instead of under two.”

Sensitivity with the outbreaks in recent years of mass shootings also factored into the timing of the closure.

“It was going to move in the spring,” he said. “Lately we have had concerns about safety from community members and employees about weapons being on campus and so we went ahead and took some action on it. We just had some concerns, the culture right now, people are more aware of things like that, and we felt like it was the right decision right now.”

Brad Tinker, firing range coordinator at MAC, noted that the new skeet and archery range should be ready to go by 2021.

“One of the reasons why that range was built was to move that trap and skeet program out of here. To get it away from the campus onto a secure facility where the firing range is. We still do archery as well. We are moving both of those programs and implementing them into the firing range where everything is located a safe distance away from the school, because the last thing we want is guns on campus. By locating these programs to one centralized location, we will be able to keep everything in line with the college.”

Tinker noted that the Department of Natural Resources and the college are working together to work out some issues for ground to be broken and to get the program up and running.

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Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com.

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