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February 20, 2012




February may be the shortest month in the calendar year, but it has produced a long list of good news for Southwestern Illinois. Major construction projects are taking shape or being delivered; new investments are expanding our educational offerings, and new jobs are being created in the area. Read on for a quick recap of all the highlights.


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$7.4 million building opens at Scott AFB (Belleville News-Democrat, 2/7/12)


The new $7.4 million Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron building at Scott Air Force Base officially opened earlier this month. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the new facility features a training area that will train more than 150 aircrew personnel each year and is expected to reduce mission preparation time by 5,000 hours per year. The squadron is responsible for transporting sick and injured troops from around the world. The facility also includes solar panels and hydrothermal heating and cooling. (Read More)



Illinois looks to compete with gas prices in neighboring states (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2/7/12)


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Springfield, Ill., lawmakers are crafting legislation that will call upon the Department of Revenue to monitor the market of motor fuel and gas taxes in the bordering states of Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. State Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Smithton, and State Rep. Richard Morthland, R-Cordova, are proposing a law that will require the department to reduce Illinois' sales tax to 1.25 percent within 30 miles of the bordering states if they have a sales tax on fuel that is less than 6.25 percent. The story notes that Illinois currently charges a 19 cent-per-gallon gas tax in addition to the current 6.25 percent sales tax. Missouri does not have a sales tax on fuel and currently charges 17 cents per every gallon of fuel. According to Costello, the goal of the taxation policy is to keep tax dollars in Illinois and provide cheaper gas for Illinois residents. (Read More) 


Ameren energy marketing unit moving to Collinsville (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2/9/2012)

Ameren Energy Resources, the headquarters of Ameren Corp's wholesale generating and marketing subsidiary, is moving to Collinsville, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. About 130 employees will relocate to the new offices at 1500 Eastport Plaza. The story quotes Steven R. Sullivan, president of Ameren Energy Resources, as noting that the move will "better reflect our core business and operating geography." (Read More) 


Construction begins on $37.8 million Illinois Police Forensic Laboratory (St. Louis Business Journal, 2/13/2012)

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, construction is now underway on the $37.8 million Illinois State Police Metro East Forensic Science Laboratory in Belleville, located on West Main Street next to Lindenwood University's Belleville campus. The new 64,100-square-foot facility will provide state-of-the-art forensic capability to help solve crimes. Leadership Council member Contegra Construction Co., of Edwardsville, is constructing the facility, which is expected to be complete next year. The project is being funded through Gov. Pat Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! program and will be built on land purchased in 2007 from Lindenwood University. (Read More)

Lindenwood plans communications center, new degree programs (Belleville News-Democrat, 2/16/12)


Lindenwood UThe Belleville News-Democrat reports that Leadership Council member Lindenwood University's Belleville   campus is planning to spend $2 million on a new communications center and renovations to its Alan 

Dixon Student Center. The new communications center will feature computer classrooms as well as space for television and radio stations. The campus will also implement four new bachelor's degree programs with the goal of increasing the number of day students to as many as 900 by the next school year, according to Lindenwood Vice President, Jerry Bladdick. The expansion is also expected to increase the school's full-time faculty from 26 to 35. Construction is targeted for completion by fall 2012. Lindenwood University has, to date, invested more than $10 million to renovate and expand the former high school campus into a full-service university. (Read More)


SIU School of Dental Medicine addition in Alton, designed by Woolpert, to open in 2013 (Illinois Business Journal, February 2012 issue)


The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine is expanding at its Alton campus, where the Illinois Business Journal reports that Woolpert is overseeing the architecture and engineering for a 19,500-square-foot addition to be completed in 2013. Eighty percent of the new building is dedicated to laboratory and support spaces outfitted with new equipment that will provide sophisticated and realistic simulation exercises for dental students to practice their work. The lower level of the building will include a large fitness area for all students and staff. Woolpert is incorporating energy-efficient elements such as daylighting into the building in order to seek LEED certification. (Read More)


Keeley-Keller joint venture prepares to build bridge deck for Illinois approach to new river bridge (Illinois Business Journal February 2012 issue)


Signs of progress on the New Mississippi River Bridge Project are about to become much more visible. The Illinois Business Journal reports that in the coming weeks, multiple union crafts will be lowering approximately 2,000 precast, 8x10-foot steel planks into place to construct the bridge deck for the Illinois approach. Leadership Council members Keller Construction Co. Inc. and Keeley & Sons are leading the project work on the Illinois side of the river. (Read More) 

In Other News . . .


The January 26th edition of the Belleville News-Democrat included a comprehensive story spotlighting the level of commercial development activity in the City of O'Fallon. Ted Shekell, the City of O'Fallon's planning and zoning director, notes in the story that the city had 33 new  commercial/industrial projects completed in 2011, compared to just three the previous year, and more are on the way. Among the projects featured in the article are:

  • Expansion of PET Dairy, targeted for completion by the end of March
  • Construction of Restaurant Plaza, a three-unit strip center on Regency Park Drive, targeted for completion by April
  • Construction of Victory Church, targeted for completion by the end of April
  • Renovation of O'Fallon Township High School's Transition House, targeted for completion in spring of 2012
  • Remodeling of the Associated Physicians Group's offices, targeted for completion by the end of May
  • Construction of Chancellor's Retirement Community, targeted for completion in the spring of 2012
  • Construction of the New Life and Christ Family Development Center, targeted for completion in 2013

Leadership Council members Korte and Luitjohan, Holland Construction Services and Johnson Properties are among those working on some of these projects.


Contact Information

Scott Schanuel

 Interim Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois



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