For Release: 10/03/2016

First insulated concrete walls go up on new Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas $20 million training center in Little Village

100,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will train current workers, prepare high school students for utility careers and generate neighborhood economic opportunities

Chicago, IL - Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas celebrated a major milestone in the construction of the utilities' new state-of-the-art training center in Little Village at 4228 W. 35th Place. The first eight 22-by-10-foot insulated concrete wall panels were raised on top of the foundation.

Construction for the training center began July 6. Today crews began installing the walls, which will consist of 146 22-by-10-foot panels when completed.

Construction Timeline

Installation of 12 to 16 wall panels per day will continue over the next two weeks. By the end of the year, the roof installation is expected to be finalized and electrical and plumbing work inside the building will begin. Structures will be installed starting Nov. 1 and completed by mid-November. Once complete, Gas City, as it will be called, will be the largest natural gas mock city training site in Illinois.

"We are building for the future," said Lori Flores Rolfson, vice president - operations and maintenance, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. "This new training center will help us meet future retirement challenges while creating new opportunities for students, our employees and our community."

General Contractor

UJAMAA Construction Inc., a Chicago minority-owned general contractor, was awarded the contract for the training center construction, which is bringing construction jobs and creating opportunities in the Little Village neighborhood.

As part of the partnership with UJAMAA, 85 percent of the spending on sub-contracting will go to minority-owned businesses, with about half of the total spending going to Hispanic-owned subcontractors and 10 percent going directly to companies based in Little Village. This will result in indirect jobs that will benefit Little Village. Additionally, the increased traffic to and from the facility during and after construction will provide an ongoing boost to the Little Village economy through increased commercial sales.

The Training Center

When completed, the center will provide training for 1,600 employees of Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas and their contractors annually. It will also prepare Chicago high school students for careers as utility workers through a vocational training program in partnership with Little Village Lawndale High School, Fenger Academy High School and Dunbar Vocational High School. Recruitment for participation in the utility training program begins this week.

Construction Milestones

A stormwater retention system, which manages stormwater runoff, is already in the ground, and environmental remediation of the land where the training center's Gas City will be constructed has been completed. The new training center is expected to be open for service by summer 2017.

Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas are both subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) and regulated natural gas delivery companies. Peoples Gas serves approximately 830,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago. North Shore Gas serves approximately 159,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in 54 communities within the northern suburbs of Chicago. For more information about natural gas safety, energy efficiency and other energy-related topics, visit or

For More Information, Contact:

WEC Energy Group