SAVE THE DATE for the 2023 ILEAS Conference! After a few years away, we are ready to host our 17th Annual Conference on March 27-29, 2023. This year the conference will be held at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign, Illinois. Plans are underway to bring you 2 ½ days of informative presentations, new vendor products and services as well as plenty of networking opportunities.
The General Assembly budgeted $3 million for upgrades to the ILEAS Training Center in the current fiscal year. The funds, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) were directed to the City of Urbana for use by ILEAS. The City of Urbana has approved an Intergovernmental Agreement making the money available to ILEAS to begin the process. ILEAS has already engaged an architect to conduct a feasbility study on improving and expanding the ILEAS Training Center (ITC). This study will be completed around December 15, 2022. Immediately afterwards, ILEAS will engage the architect to begin the design and bidding process.
The preliminary feasibility study has identified two phases for the ITC:
- Infrastructure improvements and expansion of the tactical training space
- Expansion of classrooms/auditorium to include an indoor training building sufficiently big enough for large vehicles (i.e., mobile command posts, ITECS, etc.) and onsite warehousing of response equipment caches.
Phase 2 has yet to be funded; however, work on phase 1 is just beginning.
ILEAS wants to thank Senators Scott Bennett and Chapin Rose for their support and assistance funding this project.
During the 2020-2021 COVID mass-closing years, the activity at the ILEAS Training Center (ITC) dropped off dramatically. However, in 2022 activity has picked up. For example this week the following training and events are taking place at the ITC:
- ILEAS Prairie Voice Comms Exercise 4 Participants at the ITC location
- ILETSB Field Training Officer 20 students
- ILEAS WMD Response Course 30 students
- Urbana Adult Ed. Certified Nursing Assistant 17 Students
- ILEAS EOD Team Commanders Mtg 10 Attendees
- U of I PD K9 Training 3 Students
- Urbana Fire Dept Battalion Chief Assessments 15 Participants
- Champaign Co SO CCSO Explorers 10 Participants
Including staff, instructors and team leaders, there were over 110 people participating in important training and events at the ITC this week. Another nine events are taking place next week involving over 145 people. This includes CNA School, City of Urbana Executive Meeting, Explorers, Communications Liaison Class, K9 Training, Champaign County Search and Rescue Class/Open House and Peer to Peer Investigations.
Since the ILEAS Training Center was opened in June of 2008, there have been:
- 3,429 Training Sessions and Events having taken place
- 71,455 Students and Attendees participating in training
- 433,410 Student Hours spent at the ITC
The General Assembly allocated $3 million to ILEAS to begin a remodeling and expansion project at the ITC. The funds are coming from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity through the City of Urbana. ILEAS, in concert with Champaign County, plan to do required infrastructure improvements (asbestos abatement/HVAC improvements), Parking lot resurface and expansion, converting two under-used wings into more usable scenario space and improvements to the basement communications storage facility. ILEAS has engaged IGW Architecture to conduct a feasibility study on a potential expansion of adding a larger auditorium, more classroom space, a consolidated warehouse, inclement weather indoor training space and other improvements in the future.
A recent economic survey revealed that ILEAS has had a $41 million dollar impact on the local Champaign/Urbana economy largely from payroll, vendor payments, leases, hotels, contractors, money spent by the 71,000 students that attended training at the ITC, etc. With the proposed expansion, this will increase signficantly.