PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — A new development undergoing construction on Orange Prairie Road in Peoria plans to give the local area a new place to teach children how to swim.

Aqua-Tots Swim School will be the headliner of the project that will turn the empty lot across from Hy-Vee into a 13,500 square foot multi-tenant center.

The school provides year-round swim instruction and teaches children from four months to 12 years old how to swim.

The franchise will be owned by Alison Unkovich and her husband Matthew. She says that as a parent with young children, she can attest to the difficulties associated with teaching children to swim.

“I know the anxieties that come with taking your kids around water and it is truly a skill that is such an investment into your children’s lives”, she said.

The facility will take up 7500 square feet of space, which leaves around 5000 or so square feet available for lease. Unkovich said it would be ripe for a restaurant or retail space.

Unkovich said the facility will employ about 10-15 people. Aqua-Tots is an internationally recognized franchise, and Unkovich is excited for it to come to Peoria.

“Aqua Tots really provides a safe place for kids to become confident swimmers and really give parents that peace of mind to take their kids around water”, she said.

Unkovich says the target date for the facility to open is Aug. 1, 2024.