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December 17, 2012

Greetings ~


As we move closer to winding down 2012, I'm happy to report that our final NewsLink edition of the year shows no slowdown of activity in the Metro East. Several of our local colleges have projects that are getting underway or were just completed, including the new Liberal Arts Expansion at SWIC, which was recently unveiled to the public. Plans are underway for a new $27 million senior housing development in Belleville, while construction on the $25.5 million Sam's Club in Glen Carbon is running ahead of schedule. Read on to learn more about these projects and other good news happening in the Metro East.


I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to continuing to keep you up to date on all the positive developments in Southwestern Illinois in 2013. Please look for our first edition of the New Year on Jan. 7.



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Lights, construction, classes: Metro-east colleges host building boom (The Belleville News-Democrat, December 6, 2012)


The Belleville News-Democrat reports a variety of projects being underway at college campuses throughout the Metro East. The article mentions several projects that are taking place at Southern Illinois University, including the following:

  • SIUE just broke ground on a $9.5 million, 18,000 square-foot, one-story simulation laboratory for its dental school, which is one of only two dental schools in the state.
  • The $9 million, 30,000-square-foot art and design expansion opened recently. Some classes have already begun in to the new wing, with more to move over to the new building in January.
  • A $14.2 million expansion of the engineering building is already underway. The new wing will be 32,000 square feet and four stories.
  • The $72 million science building is expected to be completed in the spring and will open to students for the summer.

The Belleville News-Democrat also highlights work being done at Lewis & Clark Community College to complete Phase 2 of the Jerry Costello Confluence Field Station, as well as renovation work at McKendree University. The school has made a $425,000 upgrade by adding new locker rooms at the Melvin Price Convocation Center, and renovations are continuing at 225 N. Monroe St. to house offices and a classroom. A former residence on campus has also been renovated and includes offices for health services and counselors. (Read More)  


AMH certified as first primary stroke center in Metro East (The Alton Telegraph, December 3, 2012)


 Alton Memorial Hospital was recently certified by the Joint Commission as a primary stroke center. The hospital is the first in the Metro East to receive the designation, which, according to the Alton Telegraph, signifies that the hospital meets critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients. Legislation is currently in the works that will require stroke patients to be transported to the nearest certified stroke center, making Alton Memorial a primary destination. The voluntary review process to earn certification includes a site visit from Joint Commission reviewers with numerous questions. Reviewers found no violations in the hospital, solidifying the certification. (Read More)


Belleville council approves new building project at St. Paul's Home (The Belleville News-Democrat, December 3, 2012)


The Belleville News-Democrat reports that plans for a new $27 million addition to St. Paul's Home, an assisted living and independent care facility serving those 65 years and older, have been unanimously approved by the Belleville City Council. Construction of the expansion is expected to begin in June 2013, pending approval from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board of the Illinois Department of Public Health, with an expected completion date of December 2014. Once the new addition opens, the old nursing home and care building will be demolished. (Read More)


SWIC unveils expansion of Liberal Arts Complex (The Edwardsville Intelligencer, December 4, 2012)


Southwestern Illinois College showed off part of its new 78,901-square-foot Liberal Arts Complex at the  school's annual tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 29. The $19.1 million, three-story addition will officially open in January, just in time for the 2013 spring semester. The facility includes many green features, including rain gardens, a white roof and the use of recycled materials, and it is pending LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. (Read More)  


Grafton water system for $1.8 million (The Belleville News-Democrat, December 12, 2012)


According to the Belleville News-Democrat, the Grafton Board of Alderman approved an agreement that would allow the Illinois American Water Company to purchase Grafton's water system for $1.8 million. The arrangement has not yet been approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission, but is expected to be completed by summer 2013. The City of Grafton currently purchases water on a wholesale basis from Illinois American's Alton District and serves about 400 customers. (Read More) 


Water division moves into bigger digs in Alton (The Alton Telegraph, December 13, 2012)


Leadership Council member Contegra Construction was instrumental in the renovation and construction of American Water Resources, Inc.'s (AWR) recent expansion into the former glassworks  site, located just north of Illinois Route 143 in Alton. The building expansion, which cost $2 million, increases the company's space to 20,427 square feet, from 7,972 square feet. According to the Alton Telegraph, AWR, which is a subsidy of American Water, provides insurance to cover water and sewer line repairs and has about 100 employees in Alton. The company is currently operating in 27 states but plans to expand to 35 at the end of January. (Read More) 


Sam's Club on target for September opening (The Edwardsville Intelligencer, November 29, 2012)


The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported that the demolition of the Do-It Center and Four Flags Motors on the 14.6-acre future site of Sam's Club in Glen Carbon is now complete. Work to build the $25.5 million Sam's Club is moving forward, and the store is expected to open in September 2013, one month ahead of schedule. (Read More) 


Manufacturers, educators team up in effort to close skills gap (Illinois Business Journal, December 2012)


A group of 20 community colleges in Illinois, including Southwestern Illinois College, have received nearly $13 million in grant funding from the Obama Administration in an effort to expand job training in the manufacturing industry. The Earn and Learn Advanced Manufacturing Career Lattice Program aims to address the lack of skilled workers entering the increasingly complicated field of manufacturing through partnerships with the colleges and employers. Read more in this month's issue of the Illinois Business Journal at


Group hopes to mine entrepreneurial gold through $50,000 cash grant competition (Illinois Business Journal, December 2012) 


Non-profit group Arch Grants, started by Mascoutah native Jerry Schlichter, is seeking to award start-up companies that have good business ideas with $50,000 grants. To increase employment growth and establish St. Louis as a place where entrepreneurs want to start and grow their businesses, Arch Grants offers startups funding in the form of grants and supports the startups as they remain or transition to downtown St. Louis. Last year, the organization issued its first solicitation to start-ups and received more than 400 applications. Fifteen companies received funding and an office in the Railway Exchange Space in downtown St. Louis. The program also provides other assistance incentives including business mentoring, free legal and accounting services and a support network. The deadline for start-ups to apply for the award this year is Dec. 31. Read more at 



In Other News



Dynegy unveils cleaner coal-burning operations in Baldwin (The Belleville News-Democrat, December 10, 2012)


Leadership Council Executive Director Ellen Krohne was on hand for the recent unveiling of council member Dynegy Inc.'s new clean coal-burning technology at its Baldwin Energy Complex, the largest power-generating coal plant in Illinois. The company has poured  approximately $1 billion into its four Illinois power plants in Baldwin, Havana, Hennepin and Wood River over the past decade. The upgrades meet the new requirements of the Clean Air Act, and Dynegy is the first energy company in Illinois to be in compliance with the requirements, according to the Belleville News-Democrat. The upgrades created 2,000 construction jobs and took $4.5 million hours of labor to complete. (Read More)  



Contact Information

Ellen Krohne

 Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois



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