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April 29 Ribbon-Cutting for New Facility at WIU's Kibbe Life Science Station

April 26, 2004

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University officials and area dignitaries will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 29 for the newly-completed housing and multipurpose facility at the Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Station in Hancock County. A reception will follow.

“This new building marks a significant improvement in the biology department and the University’s continued efforts to advance our mission of excellence in education and outreach by providing expanded and improved living facilities for students, faculty, researchers and other field station users, as well as added general meeting space,” said Station Director Sean Jenkins.

The fully handicap-accessible single-story facility has housing for 48 people in two dormitory wings, each with its own bathroom and shower facilities. The center area includes a 1,200-square foot dining area with a vaulted ceiling and a 200-square-foot kitchen.

The facility, which has yet to be named, is the end-product of a $242,300 National Science Foundation (NSF) Facility Improvement Grant awarded to Western’s biology department, with matching support from the University’s Provost and College of Arts and Sciences.

Construction of the 4,200-square-foot environmentally friendly and energy efficient facility began in Fall 2003 using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), a “green” technology endorsed by the Department of Energy's Energy Star Program.

"This construction method uses one-fifth the lumber used in traditional wood framing and offers protection against high winds and tornados," said Jenkins.

Kibbe is unique as a field station because of its geographic location in the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS), an area of great ecological and economic importance, which in 1986 was recognized as a nationally significant ecosystem by Congress, according to biological sciences department Chair Richard Anderson.

"Kibbe is one of the few teaching and research station on a 200-mile stretch of the UMRS, and because of the diversity of aquatic and terrestrial communities at the site, the station is an important venue for future studies of the influence of human activities on the UMRS and the unique ecosystems within the UMRS watershed," added Anderson, who directed the field station from 1987 to 2000.

Western established the Kibbe Life Sciences Station in 1964, after receiving a donation of 169 acres of land from Alice L. Kibbe, a Carthage College botanist from 1920-1956. The University also operates the station as a nature preserve to protect the unique natural features from unnecessary human disturbance. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) owns 734 acres adjacent to the station to provide a sanctuary for wintering populations of eagles, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) owns a 206-acre nature preserve and flood plain forest in the immediate vicinity of the station. Through a cooperative agreement, Western Illinois field station personnel manage 1,680-acres owned by WIU, TNC and IDNR.

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