Executives at Erie Insurance (ERIE) cut the ribbon on the company's new state-of-the-art Technical Learning Center – a hands-on claims training facility that features 14 vehicle bays, a three-story model home made from 400 different building materials, and other training aides.

The 52,000-square-foot space will serve as a giant interactive classroom for employees and agents to get an up-close look at property damage sustained to vehicles, homes and businesses.

ERIE employees, media and invited guests got the first look at the hands-on facility, which features a full-size house with an attic and basement, as well as sprinkler and building material work stations. It also includes vehicle equipment stations with lifts, frame repair stations, wheel alignment machines, and prep and paint booths.

"Our claims service is the cornerstone of our business. While home and auto technology is always changing, our commitment to being ‘Above All in Service’ is constant," said Erie Insurance’s Executive Vice President of Services Chip Dufala. "This training facility will enable employees to touch, feel, build, and get a firsthand look at damage they will encounter in the field. That makes for better learning – and, ultimately, a better customer experience."

"This Technical Learning Center sets Erie Insurance apart as a company committed to innovation – innovation that, year after year, powers the best claims service in the business," said Dufala. "What employees learn here will enable them to make better claims decisions and provide improved service to our customers."

President and Chief Executive Officer Terrence Cavanaugh added, "This new facility represents the most ambitious education initiative in ERIE’s history, and I’m proud of that. It means we are offering our Employees more opportunities to grow as individuals in the jobs that they have today, as well as preparing them for the skills they’ll need tomorrow."

The new facility also includes an installation by found-object artist Michelle Stitzlein who recreated the ERIE logo from repurposed automotive and building materials.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Technical Learning Center was part of a year-long celebration at Erie Insurance which celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2015.