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Pictured, from left, Spencer Hendrickson, senior mathematics major, of Galesburg; Chad Faxon, senior interdisciplinary studies major, of Macomb and Andrew Brophy, a graduate student in engineering technology leadership, of Macomb, work with several pieces of equipment recently donated to WIU's Department of Engineering Technology from the University's Facilities Management department.
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Facilities Management Makes Donation to WIU Engineering Technology Program

April 2, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – Surplus electrical equipment from Western Illinois University's decommissioned coal plant operation will soon be used in classroom laboratories by the Department of Engineering Technology.

The WIU Board of Trustees voted in December 2011 to discontinue using coal to heat University facilities. Since then the operation has been transitioned for the use of natural gas. Currently the coal stack on the southeast side of the Macomb campus is being dismantled brick-by-brick.

Monte Colley, assistant director of Facilities Management at Western, said the decommissioning was completed about one month ago. He added that the donated equipment is part of the demolition process.

Engineering Technology Professor Dave Hunter said equipment used in the coal operation, including electronic controls and sensors from the coal generation plant, can be used to build electronic models.

"We can use many of the items in labs as we construct automated cells similar to those used in modern manufacturing facilities," Hunter said. "Most of the donated items replicate items we currently use, but replaces them with more modern models. The department is very excited because this is tens of thousands of dollars in items we don't have to buy that can be put directly into our labs."

The labs are used by students in a variety of majors, including engineering technology and renewable energy.

Hunter said some of the donated equipment could be used on the WIU-Quad Cities campus to eliminate transporting equipment between the two campuses for classes.

For more information on Western's Department of Engineering Technology, visit

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