"We`re located in Lebanon which is the city right next door," says Jim Dennis, President of McKendree University. "We consider O`Fallon our very good neighbor and part of our footprint as a university."
This is why the university will be the anchor tenant in the proposed McKendree Metro Rec Plex. Developer Dean Ozele is putting together the privately owned complex that will include two NHL-sized ice rinks and two pools among the many features.
"O`Fallon is a city of 30,000 and we have 14,000 kids below the age of 18," says Gary Graham, O`Fallon Mayor. "So, if you don`t think they`re not going to be excited about an aqua center and ice skating. It`ll be the biggest thing we've had in awhile."
The ambitious plan will replace the old U.S. Ice Complex in Fairview Heights which had to shut two years ago due to mine subsidence. The project calls for tiff funding to help with widening roads and utilities.
"The TIFF board will meet and discuss it and that`s call probably next month," says Graham.
Plans call for a groundbreaking in the next month and that means an expansion for the McKendree athletic program too.
"We currently have 27 sports in our athletic program," says Dennis. "It`s a very large and successful program. We`ll add an additional eight sports and draw more students nationally and internationally to this area."