History of the Training Facility

After James Buchanan was elected Business Manager in June of 2001, a meeting occurred to discuss the possibility of a new training facility for the membership of Pipe Fitters’ Local Union 597. During the subsequent meetings, needs of the members, cost estimates, and drawings/specifications were developed. These were given to design/build contractors for budget cost for the building and attached grounds layout.

February of 2002
After it was determined that the members of Pipe Fitters’ Local 597 needed a new facility and the plans were developed, the location of the new school became a concern. Discussions with the City of Chicago, and many other suburbs took place regarding available land which met our needs.

October of 2002
It was decided that the Village of Mokena had the property most suitable to our needs.

November of 2002
A meeting was set with the Village of Mokena’s Economic Development office. At this time a set of plans was presented in order to discuss land usage and zoning requirements.

December of 2002
After the November meeting, the annexation process began. The annexation agreement took approximately eleven months, and the agreement was given in October of 2003.

During this time, the requirements of Local 597’s new facility were given to three design/build contractors for ideas, layout, and budget cost estimates for the project. The bid process took nine months, including meetings with the Village of Mokena. Meetings determined engineering requirements for building placement, parking, roads, signage, and utilities.

November of 2003
Final bids were received and accepted. McShane Corporation was awarded the design/build contract. At this time final land purchases were completed and a ground breaking ceremony was held.

November/December of 2003
Mobilization and site work begins.

January of 2004
The site work is complete and permits were received to begin the foundation.

February of 2004
The foundation and footers were poured and took approximately one month to complete.

March of 2004
The first pre-cast panels were installed and took one month to complete.

April of 2004
The structural steel erection began. Underground utilities to the building interior, plumbing, and electrical began.

May of 2004
Second floor decking and roofing begins. Second floor concrete pour, miscellaneous steel, and second floor piping mains, duct mains, and electrical work in progress.

June/November of 2004
Build out of interior. Piping, HVAC, electrical, drywall, painting, etc.

August/October 2004
The outside roads, parking lots, curbs and concrete work, lighting, signs and landscaping is completed.

November of 2004
Second floor punch list.
Apprentices visit new Training Facility.

December of 2004
First floor punch list. The Village of Mokena conducted a partial inspection of first and second floor areas. This allows for installation of furniture, telecommunications, networking, and computer systems.

January of 2005
Final inspections through the Village of Mokena.

February of 2005
The final building occupancy permit was issued on February 2, 2005. At this time Local 597 began moving out of its three existing facilities. With the help of our Apprentices, the move was completed in one month. Welding classes began in Mokena in the second week of February.

March of 2005
Night classes resume in our new Training Facility.

April 28-May 1, 2005
Dedication of the Training Center and Open House for the Membership.

About The Training Center

Located at 10850 W. 187th St. in Mokena, Illinois


Pipe Fitters’ Training Center Local 597, is a 198,000 square foot facility.


The Training Center has:

  • 100+ welding booths.
  • Two computer rooms with 20 student stations each.
  • Two coupon cutting machines (flame cuts & machine bevels)
  • Overhead crane.
  • Lecture Hall complete with wireless (wan) laptops.
  • Auditorium seating for 250.
  • State of the art audio/visual capabilities.
  • Complete HVAC instructional / practical area.