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Trailblazer Commons expands, Lewis and Clark Community College students enjoy greater housing options

Article courtesy of The Riverbender.com

GODFREY – Phase II of Trailblazer Commons officially opened today in Godfrey. Community leaders joined students, faculty and staff of Lewis and Clark Community College to mark the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Located next door to campus, Trailblazer Commons is a purpose-built student housing complex serving Lewis and Clark Community College. Phase I of the development opened in 2014.

Phase II includes an additional 12-unit apartment building as well as expanded parking facilities. The community can now house up to 148 students.

“We’re honored to be a part of the Lewis and Clark community, and excited to offer even more students a place to call home,” said Kevin Carski, Managing Partner of Elm Street Student Housing, the project’s owner and developer. “Trailblazer Commons is more than just a place to live. It also provides students with a full, live-on-campus college experience. Residents can walk to class, make new friends, and become part of a thriving community.”

Lewis and Clark Vice President of Student Engagement Sean Hill said the housing complex has fulfilled a need for students who otherwise have a long commute or who want to enjoy an on-campus college experience.

“This housing unit has provided an affordable place for our students to reside while attending Lewis and Clark,” Hill said. “Trailblazer Commons provides not only a place for our student athletes to live, but it also provides that complete college experience for a number of other traditional students who choose to live near campus.”

Residents agree. “I enjoy living in Trailblazer Commons”, said Jane Grieser, a second-year Lewis and Clark student from Springfield, IL. “With the new addition I will make more friends. I’ve met so many people to begin with; this has been a great experience.”

Trailblazer Commons will have a table at Lewis and Clark’s upcoming Open House, from 12:00 p.m. – 2 p.m., Sunday, September 18. During that time, event attendees will have the opportunity to tour an open unit.

TOP 150 PRIVATELY HELD COMPANIES

If you ask Brad Barnard, one of the owners of Contegra Construction, why 2015 was such a successful year for the company, he’d tell you it was a perfect mix of customer satisfaction and the dedicated work of his employees. That mix resulted in $135 million in revenue in 2015, up from $79 million in 2014.

“We hire people that have extensive resumes and very strong skillsets for different types of work,” he said. “And when we have that, clients look for specific employees they’ve worked with in the past because they’ve built that relationship already.”

When Contegra was founded in 2003 by Eric Gowin, it was mainly a distribution center builder, but that changed about six years ago when Gowin brought on partners with specialties that complemented his, said Barnard.

“This allowed us to diversify and we were able to competitively bid for other opportunities,” Barnard said.

The company now takes on retail, residential, wastewater and water treatment and education projects, among others.

In 2015, Contegra worked mostly on industrial and commercial projects, including completion of a new 202,895-square-foot Menards store in St. Ann. Other completions in 2015 include projects for Procter and Gamble and World Wide Technology, although Barnard can’t reveal what they were.

Contegra began a 220,000-square-foot residential project in April 2015 called the Bramblett Hills, in O’Fallon, Missouri, which includes 17 three-story buildings. The company is in the process of completing a $63 million retail development in Richmond Heights that includes a Menards store. Contegra also is currently working on a large distribution center, called Gateway Commerce Center 717, in Edwardsville.

In addition to World Wide Technology and Menards, Contegra’s other clients include Walgreens, and Lewis and Clark Community College.

Barnard said the company is projecting revenue to increase slightly in 2016, but it will include more of the same projects. The company has four primary owners, Eric GowinBrad BarnardRuss Henke and Dennis Araujo, but hopes to extend some ownership opportunities to the next generation of leaders at Contegra soon.