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Rep. Shuster Awards Grant to Raystown Field Station for Technology

(Posted June 2, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) presented a Congressional Award from the U.S. Department of Education for $495,750 to Juniata College and its Raystown Field Station May 30 to fund computer equipment and environmentally ?green? technology for the college?s new research facility at Raystown Lake.

Juniata will use the grant to launch its Environmental Interpretive Program, in which environmental science students will use the station?s new multipurpose building as a teaching and learning tool for the college?s state-of-the-art environmental monitoring system.

The completion of the first phase of the Raystown Field Station renovation project, part of a $5 million improvement plan for the site, encompasses the soon-to-be-completed multipurpose building followed by: a classroom/laboratory to support student course work and research; a caretaker's residence; and a building for housing 48 students and faculty, to allow students and their teachers to spend an entire semester studying at the facility.

The complex itself will be part of the curriculum, providing hands-on learning in natural resource consumption, environmental studies and habitat management. The research and education complex, which will be built over a five-year timeline, will offer students from all areas of study research opportunities that are unavailable at most other colleges and universities.

Among the technology needs to be filled by the $495,750 grant are:

--Purchases of desk and laptop computers as well as computer network servers and audio-visual technology for the facility. In addition, the station will be outfitted with a satellite dish that enables residents at the station to access the computer resources at the Juniata campus in Huntingdon.

--A wireless computer communication network that would enable students to take laptops outside or out to isolated research areas and still have the capability to access e-mail, the Internet and the college?s educational resources. ?They will be able to use their computers while on a boat out on the lake if they need to,? says Chuck Yohn, director of the Raystown Field Station.

--Environmental sensors and monitoring equipment that will allow students and faculty to assess and monitor temperature, soil conditions, weather conditions and water quality at the facility. The multipurpose building also will be designed for sustainability and energy-efficiency. Students and faculty will be able to monitor water usage, energy consumption and other environmental data within the building.

--Environmentally ?green? appliances that will be compatible with the building?s energy consumption/monitoring system.

?We will have a new powerful tool to conduct economic and environmental assessments of the building design and ?green? technology in general,? Yohn explains.

"The improvements for the field station will allow Juniata to revolutionize its educational mission and improve our outreach to our surrounding community by using a resource that is truly unique in the nation," says Tom Kepple, president of Juniata. "Students who live on-site in a highly energy-efficient residence hall to study the environment and surrounding habitat year-round can see and experience how their behavior and habits affect the environment and the world."

Another improvement to the site is the installation of an improved entrance road to the research station. The surface will be paved with a high-technology gravel surface system from the turn off at State Route 3009 (or James Creek boat launch access road) to the field station site.

Juniata College, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers established the Raystown Field Station in 1974 to provide special opportunities for environmental research and education. The Field Station provides facilities for local high school students and Juniata College students to study nature with fewer disturbances and greater flexibility. The 335-acre reserve lies in the valley and ridge province of the Appalachian Mountains and offers visitors access to the numerous aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that inhabit the area.

"Our competitors in student recruitment can do many of the same things Juniata is doing to attract top students, but the one thing they can't do is build an 8,300-acre lake next to their campus," Yohn says. "The improvements and plans we have for the research station will position Juniata College as a top school not only nationally but globally as well."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.