ROCKTON, IL-The second high-efficiency Wal-Mart in the nation, and the first in the Midwest, has opened. Elmhurst-based International Contractors was the general contractor of the 205,147-sf Wal-Mart Supercenter at the corner of Highway 251 and Rockton Road. Chris Michael Rhea, from Merriam, KS, was the architect for the project.

Construction on the $16 million project began last March and finished at the end of last year. Wal-Mart gained occupancy last month and International Contractors recently finished “punch list” items, says Scott Leadbetter, assistant project manager.

International Contractors installed a high-efficiency system in the store, which is the second Wal-Mart in the nation to have it, Leadbetter says. The first high-efficiency Wal-Mart opened in December 2006 in Kansas City, MO. “It recycles waste heat from the refrigeration systems and uses it toward the heating systems,” he says. Other energy saving measures include the use of LED lighting with sensors for the refrigerated sections, that turn lights on when a customer approaches, and having glass doors on refrigerated sections. “Everything is enclosed. There are no exposed cooler areas,” he says.

In Illinois, there are a total of 79 Wal-Mart Discount Stores and 51 Wal-Mart Supercenters. The Rockton Wal-Mart is expected to generate between 350 and 400 new jobs. The new store has an expanded lawn and garden center, pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, vision center, photo center, hair and nail salon, bank branch and a Subway. The Wal-Mart also has a grocery area with a bakery, delicatessen, fresh produce and frozen food, meat and dairy departments.

Another high-efficiency store is planned for Romeoville, IL. That project has not yet been awarded to a contractor, Leadbetter says. International Contractors is currently working on the expansion of a 150,000-sf Wal-Mart Discount Store to a 221,000-sf Wal-Mart Supercenter at 1401 Illinois Route 59 in Joliet, IL. The $10.6 million expansion project is expected to be complete by September. International Contractors is also expected to begin construction later this month or early next month on two Wal-Marts, each about 205,000 sf. at the southwest corner of Joyce Road and Jefferson Avenue in Joliet and the southeast corner of Fairgrounds Road and Interstate 26 in Freeport, IL. The estimated cost for the two new stores is $16 million each.

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