Ameren Illinois plans to build a new electric training center in Belleville. Company officials say it's another element of its ten-year, 625-million-million grid modernization plan. The center will be used to train up to 100 new or existing employees at a time in areas such as line maintenance and to provide support for yet-to-be-installed automated "smart meters."

Ameren officials say the Metro East location allows it to leverage an existing workforce training collaboration with Southwestern Illinois College. The facility will be built on the former Fischer Lumber site, which is a 12-arce parcel along Illinois Route 15. The existing building will be used, allowing Ameren to have the facility up and running much quicker than if they had to build a structure from scratch. The utility is expected to spend about $7-million on the project.

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