Consumers Energy (Michigan) has announced an investment of nearly $5 million to expand and modernize its Marshall Training Center, which provides safety and operational training to electric and natural gas service workers.

"We are pleased to announce a major expansion and modernization of our Marshall Training Center, as part of our ongoing commitment to improving the reliability, safety and performance of Consumers Energy and our employees," said John Russell, president and chief operating officer for Consumers Energy. "This project clearly demonstrates that Consumers Energy is prepared to make investments in Michigan on behalf of the 6.5 million people we serve with electricity and natural gas."

The expansion of the Marshall Training Center will result in a state-of-the-art facility constructed to meet national environmental standards. The standards -- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design -- are nationally accepted benchmarks for the design, construction and operation of high-performance facilities, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

Among the major improvements to the facility will be a large indoor pole-climbing area to enhance lineworker training. It will be one of the few in such facilities in the United States. The expansion is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2008.

The Marshall Training Center provides training for nearly 1000 employees every year. It began operations in 1978.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.