GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new Grand Valley State University lab will give students the opportunity to become cybersecurity professionals.

The Cyber Threat Range is set to debut to students in the spring and is located at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences building in downtown Grand Rapids. It will be used to train students on cyber security with the help of the Michigan Cyber Threat Response Alliance.

“We were looking for something that would give students a little more depth,” Associate Professor Andrew Kalafut said.

The space is an old computer lab that was not being used a lot by students. All of the computers are connected to one another but not to the rest of the campus network. This will prevent learning students from interfering with GVSU’s systems.

“This removes that risk,” Kalafut said. “This gives them a safe way to test their cyber security skills.”

GVSU’s cybersecurity academic program began in 2019 and already has about 150 students enrolled. This new lab will give them plenty of experience dealing with hackers and viruses before even stepping into a real scenario.

“If I can actually implement what I learn in the classroom afterward, I can learn so much more,” graduate student Alec Broughal said. “So I think, had I had this as an undergrad, that would have been so huge for me.”

The university said cybersecurity lessons will soon be given to local high schools as well to teach them how to stay safe online. The school is also asking for donations of old equipment, like laptops, to help the new mobile Cyber Threat Range.