Education in the Tri-Cities Area was on the minds of its earliest settlers.

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In 1857, the Methodists of Six Mile built a combination church and school building and the settlement’s first school, Kinderhook, was born. It closed in 1902, but by then, public education had taken root in Granite City. The city completed construction of its first public school in 1897. Today, the Tri-Cities Area is served by Granite City Community Unit School District #9, Madison Community Unit School District #12, andVenice Community Unit School District #3. District #9 operates nine elementary schools, two junior high schools, and a senior high school. It also operates a special education facility. District 9 has a total enrollment of about 8,250 students.

Elementary education focuses on the basics of reading, mathematics, and social studies, augmented by music, art, and physical education. Seventh and eighth grade students attend the two middle schools. The schools prepare youngsters for the transition to high school.

Students at Granite City Senior High School choose from more than 190 different academic and career-oriented courses. Several courses are accelerated or carry honors. The school offers advanced placement courses in calculus and chemistry which earn students college credit in high school.

School

More than 65 courses train students for occupations, including aVariety of health occupations, tourism and hospitality, graphic arts, auto technology, and welding. Many of these also provide college credit through arrangements with Belleville Area College and Lewis and Clark Community College.

Students can earn credit for participation in the school’sVarious bands and choruses and for work on the school’s yearbook. In addition, the school encourages participation in aVariety of extracurricular clubs and organizations.

In the city’s Centennial year, the Senior High School began a two-year, $14 million renovation program that encompasses the entire complex of three buildings–school, gymnasium, and cafeteria. Now complete, the school has a new main entrance, new electrical wiring, new plumbing, central air conditioning, a new media center, and a fresh new appearance inside and out.

The city has two parochial elementary schools that provide alternatives to public education. They maintain the same curriculum emphasis, but with a foundation based on religious beliefs. In addition, the city has several day care and preschools, major helps for working parents.

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BusinessThroughout its history, the Tri-Cities Area has been home to heavy industry. Two of its oldest industrial firms–Granite City Steel and American Steel Foundries, established in 1878 and 1905, respectively –have been part of the community for more than 100 years.

The list of the area’s major employers begins with Granite City Steel. It has 3,100 workers and produces flat rolled sheet steel. American Steel Foundries is next with 900 employees. It makes castings and products for railroad cars.

Other metals-related industrial firms in Granite City include Tower Automotive, producer of automobile parts, with more than 500 workers; Heidtman Steel, whose 65 employees produce flat rolled sheet steel; International Mill Service, steel reclaimers with 56 employees; NESCO Steel Barrel Company, with 42 workers producing barrels and drums; PreCoat Metals Company, specializing in metal treating and painting, with 70 employees; Robinson Steel, steel processors with 140 workers; and Taracorp, Inc., producing lead and lead products with 140 employees.

Among other major companies in the area are American Colloid, which produces foundry sands, additives, and cat litter; ADM Packaged Oils, producingVegetable oils and shortening; Air Products and Chemicals, specializing in compressed gases; Kraft Foods / Capri Sun Inc., maker of flavoring concentrates and fruit drinks; and Prairie Farms Dairy, which processes dairy products.

CompaniesGranite City has suffered the same decline in employment that most heavy industry communities across the nation have suffered in recent decades. Despite the fact that the Granite City area has an estimated 14,000 jobs in steel-related industrial operations, its work force is under-employed. Creation of a large Enterprise Zone and, especially, two industrial TIF districts is evidence that the city intends to act in its own best interests and encourage new industrial development. As a direct result of the creation of one TIF district, American Steel reopened its facility that was closed for several years.

Development of the new, 550-acre Northgate Industrial Park on the city’s northwestern edge is a major plus for the community. Northgate has attracted a new, more diversified base of industry and also drawn new commercial enterprises to the area.

Three industrial parks in Madison – Steven Mareas Industrial Park, Access Industrial Park, Fox Industrial Park–accommodate aVariety ofVentures including Southwest Steel Supply, Diamond Plating, Forest Products Division of Kerr-McGee, Delivery Network, and Lantner Company.

In nearby Pontoon Beach, Tri-Star Development Company is in the process of developing a 3,000-acre Commerce Center. The first structure boasts more than one million square feet of distribution facilities. The second structure, just begun, is nearly one-half million square feet and claims fame to being the largest one day concrete pour in the St. Louis region. Located north of the intersection of Interstate 270 and IL 111, the center offers its tenants, including Dial Corporation, easy access to major highways, which connect to bustling commercial centers across the country.

the village ofVenice is home to Spectrulite Consortium, an aluminum and extrusion plant servicing the aerospace and manufacturing industries.

The Granite City Campus of Belleville Area College is located near this developing area, assuring easy accessibility to whatever specialized training employees might require.

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Hospital

Immediate access to skilled health care when needed is a factor that eases the minds of Tri-Cities Area families. The modern facilities of St. Elizabeth Medical Center stand in the heart of the city’s downtown area.

A 439-bed, not for profit, acute care hospital, St. Elizabeth’s has more than 160 physicians and surgeons on its active and courtesy staffs. These doctors offer expertise in most medical specialties and subspecialties.The hospital’s services include the full range of state-of-the-art radiological diagnostic equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT scans, and nuclear medicine. Its Emergency Room is open round the clock and round the calendar, staffed by physicians specially trained in emergency medicine.

BabySt. Elizabeth Medical Center offers same-day surgery, cardiac catherization, attractive birthing suites, a cardio-vascular laboratory, ICU/CCU, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, home health care, a gastro-intestinal lab, physical therapy, pulmonary therapy, occupational therapy, sports medicine, hospice, and laser eye surgery.

The hospital’s mental health services include a 60-bed psychiatric unit and a full range of inpatient and outpatient services for children, adolescents, and adults. The hospital also provides a comprehensive program of community education, everything from stop-smoking clinics to baby-sitting clinics, from stress management to grief workshops.St. Elizabeth Medical Center’s Wellness Center offers weight management services and aVariety of other wellness programs.

DoctorProvidence Occupational Health Services is part of St. Elizabeth Health Services and concentrates on serving more than 300 area business and industrial firms. It offers pre-employment screenings, OSHA compliance exams, minor trauma care, and drug screenings. It provides nurse and physician services at the plant site. It offers the Cybex back and extremity system, a revolutionary way to diagnose and treat back and joint injuries. And, it provides a work hardening center that allows injured workers to recover and rehabilitate in a simulated work environment. In addition, Providence Occupational Health Services helps employees and families resolve problems affecting their personal lives and job performance through confidential professional counseling.

Employees of companies participating in Providence Occupational Health Services’ programs receive memberships in the St. Elizabeth Wellness Center and utilize Eagle fitness equipment and an indoor walking track.

A new medical office building adjacent to St. Elizabeth Medical Center houses the offices of numerous physicians and surgeons who serve on the hospital’s staff. The offices of many doctors and dentists are located in the community.

Several excellent nursing homes in Granite City and its immediate area provide quality skilled nursing care on a short and long term basis. The Granite City area also has several retirement communities that offer the full range of independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care.

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City HallGranite City is a home rule community with a mayor-council form of government. The council is made up of the mayor and 14 council members elected from seven city wards. The mayor oversees the day-to-day operations of city government, aided by a clerk, treasurer, and several department heads.

The city has established two industrial Tax Increment Financing districts and one commercial TIF to encourage expansion and redevelopment of business and industry. A large part on the city’s south and west sides is included in an Enterprise Zone that extends into the neighboring communities of Madison andVenice. The zone offers special tax advantages as incentives for business and industrial development.The Granite City Police Department has 53 sworn officers who patrol the city’s some 300 miles of streets, providing security and enforcing the law. They are assigned by four dispatchers and six civilian personnel.

BuildingPoliceVisit the city’s schools under the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program and provide speakers for community organizations and groups. They also provide community policing to resolve problems and support Neighborhood Watch andVacation Watch programs.

Fifty-seven full-time firefighters are employed by the Granite City Fire Department and assure a fire insurance rating of 5 for the city. Firefighters are based at three strategically located station houses and operate four first line pumpers, a tele-squirt, an 85-foot aerial ladder, and a rescue truck. They have one pumper in reserve.

Sixteen of the firefighters are trained paramedics and 10 are emergency medical technicians. Three are permanently assigned to the department’s two life support equipped ambulances.

Firefighters regularlyVisit the schools to promote fire safety, often taking along the department’s "Safety House" trailer that gives youngsters first-hand experience in exiting a smoke-filled building. Another schoolVisitor is "Pluggy," the department’s fireplug robot. During these schoolVisits, firefighters distribute such things as erasers shaped like Dalmatians and firehats, coloring books on fire safety, and firefighter badges.

The department also makes annual fire safety inspections of all businesses, churches, schools, and public buildings in the community.

All of Granite City’s many services make it a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

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