(Posted October 13, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College President Tom Kepple will dedicate Shuster Hall, a lakeside teaching facility that is the first structure in a redesign of the college?s Raystown Field Station, at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 at Shuster Hall.

?The dedication of Shuster Hall celebrates a beginning step in transforming our environmental science research station into a state-of-the-art facility that will have no equal in the nation,? Kepple says. ?Our commitment to experiential education has allowed Juniata to realize a vision of a residential research station where students will live and breathe science while living for an entire semester in one of the most spectacular natural environments in the eastern United States.?

Shuster Hall?s dedication ceremony will start at 11:30 a.m. with opening remarks by President Kepple. After Kepple?s remarks, the building will be accepted in a series of speeches by Jonathan Hruska, president of the student government association; Paula Martin, associate professor and chair of environmental science and studies; and finally by E.G. ?Bud? Shuster, U.S. House of Representatives, Ret.

After the building ribbon-cutting ceremony, performed by Henry H. Gibbel, president and CEO of Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. and chair of the Juniata board of trustees, the building will be open for guided tours.

The Shuster Hall research facility was made possible by grants from the Water Resources Development Act that will total more than $1.25 million. Rep. Bud Shuster was the driving force in helping the college get the grants for construction and road construction. Last year, Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) presented a Congressional Award from the U.S. Department of Education for $495,750 to Juniata and the Raystown Field Station to fund computer equipment and environmentally ?green? technology for the college?s new research facility.

Shuster Hall, which will function as a multipurpose building that combines classrooms, dining facilities, meeting rooms and a student lounge, is the first building to be completed in a complex that will include:

--A classroom/laboratory to support student course work and research.

--Two residential buildings for housing 48 students to allow students to spend an entire semester studying at the facility.

--A caretaker facility.

--Grove Farm, which functioned as the college?s field station since the mid-1970s, will remain and will be used for high school and middle school outreach programs, college classes and for alumni and student programming.

According to Juniata environmental scientist Paula Martin, the added space at the station once residence halls are built will give students the opportunity to live, work and study in and around a living laboratory, a capstone experience few undergraduate programs can match. The residential resources at the station will free space in the College's main dormitories, eventually giving the College room to expand its enrollment for all students.

By housing students at the station for an entire semester, Juniata will enhance its already stellar science offerings by creating enhanced and expanded study and research opportunities in population biology, aquatic studies and watershed monitoring. "Because you have a small group of students taking the same classes together you can throw out the traditional class schedule and add much more creativity to the curriculum," Martin explains.

The self-contained concept of living at the field station for an entire semester also creates opportunities for humanities faculty to create courses based on environmental themes and integrate them into the college?s curriculum.
In addition, the research station received $800,000 in federal highway funds and $200,000 in Juniata College funds to improve the entrance road to the research station. The surface is paved from the turn off at State Route 3009 (or James Creek Boat Launch access road) to the field station site. The road improvements have shaved two miles and about 15 minutes off the commute from Juniata?s campus.

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.

To get to the new Raystown Field Station from Huntingdon, drive south on Route 26 about 14 miles to the town of Markelsburg and turn left onto Fousses Crossing Road. Follow Fousses Crossing Road until it ends at James Creek Road. Then turn right onto the James Creek Road. Travel about 100 yards until the field station gate appears on the left.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.