Welcome to the Playas Research and Training Center

Playas aerialwikipedia.org/wiki/Playas,_New_Mexico

Experience the versatility and comprehensive facilities at the Playas Research and Training Center (PRTC), where you can host a variety of events or training sessions.  At PRTC, we offer unique environments and infrastructure to meet a wide range of needs, whether you're planning a technical training session, a community-focused event, or a large-scale exercise.

History of Playas

Playas History

The Playas Research and Training Center (PRTC), situated in Hidalgo County, was once a company town with about 1,500 residents, home to employees of the Phelps Dodge Corporation, which operated a copper smelter nearby. When Phelps Dodge shut down the smelter in 1999, the town's population dwindled to just a few families. In 2004, New Mexico Tech (NMT) acquired the town and founded the PRTC, primarily to provide a training venue for first responders and counter-terrorism activities. Since 2018, NMT has broadened the center's focus to include research into critical infrastructure and the Internet of Things, as well as non-kinetic domain training.

What We Do Now

Down plane

PRTC now caters to a wide range of government and private sector clients, both domestically and internationally, who need a controlled environment for realistic testing and training scenarios. It offers a unique and adaptable platform with a comprehensive range of facilities, allowing clients to refine and validate their tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Facilities and Amenities


Playas encompasses a 640-acre township with over 300 homes and buildings, including a classroom complex, a community center, and a convention center. The facility offers a vast operational space, with 400,000 acres within and surrounding the town. This expansive area includes high mountain desert, rural and Middle Eastern-themed test and training venues, as well as live-fire and driving ranges, plus a four-square-mile explosives range.

The facility features five classrooms—three small and two large—along with a control room and a command room, all equipped with high-speed internet connectivity. To support connectivity throughout the town, 17 miles of new fiber optic lines have been installed.

For accommodation, the facility offers 58 three-bedroom/two-bath ranch-style houses and 11 one-bedroom/one-bath apartments, all available for rent. Each rental unit is fully furnished, with a fully equipped kitchen, a laundry room featuring a washer and dryer, and priced according to the GSA government rate. Major credit cards are accepted for housing rentals.

The facility's amenities include a shooting range and a comprehensive driving range designed to simulate challenging terrains with water traps, boulder and log obstruction fields, and incline and slant hazards for ATVs and off-road vehicles. Additionally, the onsite airstrip supports small aircraft, providing convenient access and serving as a potential training base.

Law Enforcement Training Environment

red flag

The Playas facility offers a versatile training environment designed to support a range of law enforcement activities. Certain areas are specifically tailored for law enforcement training, with houses and settings arranged to meet client needs. This suburban environment has been used for scenarios like hostage situations, explosive breaches, counter-terrorism exercises, search and seizure, tracking, evasive driving, and traffic stop training. We have the capability to create and adapt training scenarios to meet specific customer requirements, ensuring realistic and effective training experiences.

Military and Security Exercise Support


The Playas facility is designed to accommodate a wide range of military and security exercises. Whether for search and rescue, high-value target tracking, or flag-level exercise support, the environment offers comprehensive support. Teams can practice air jumps and night infiltration, with designated areas for helicopter landings. Explosives and pyrotechnics are permitted, allowing you to create realistic battlefield conditions for training. If you have a scenario in mind, Playas is likely to have the resources and environment to bring it to life.

Live-Fire Weapons Training


The live-fire weapons training complex at Playas offers a comprehensive set of facilities for rifle and pistol training. It includes a high-power rifle range with a shooting distance of up to 1,200 yards, complete with target butts that support .50 BMG semi-automatic or bolt-action rifles. There's also a long-distance rifle range with a 60-foot Conex tower featuring multiple levels and shooting ports, a 300-yard rifle range, two 100-yard rifle ranges, and a 25-yard pistol range.

These facilities provide a diverse range of training scenarios and possibilities. The objective is to engage participants in a sensory-rich environment that requires knowledge, quick decision-making, and situational awareness, providing ample opportunities to practice and improve tactical skills and reactions.

Cyber Kinetic Environment


PRTC offers an academically driven, responsive, and reconfigurable research and training environment designed to simulate complex combat conditions. This setup can support simultaneous operations across multiple services, allowing for joint and coalition Information Dominance training. By integrating cyber and kinetic elements, the environment enables comprehensive training scenarios that reflect real-world challenges, preparing participants for the demands of modern warfare and security operations.



The Playas Research and Training Center (PRTC) provides a unique setting for a diverse array of research projects. From exploring the electromagnetic spectrum to climate studies and explosive testing, the center offers facilities and environments suitable for a wide range of scientific investigations. Its expansive grounds and versatile infrastructure make it ideal for fieldwork, allowing researchers to conduct studies and experiments in conditions that are either real conditions or closely resemble real-world scenarios.


For Event Hosting and Facility Use

If you're interested in hosting an event or bringing a team to Playas to utilize our facility, please contact us at (575) 518-8799.

For STEM-Based Training and Community Outreach

If you're interested in organizing a STEM-based training or community outreach event, please contact us at (575) 202-9547.