The Rhoden Field Laboratory
When A&E concentrated its field laboratories at the Rhoden Farm several years ago, ACU administration graciously provided funding over four years to upgrade select facilities at the Rhoden. Phases I and II witnessed the remodeling and retrofitting of the existing stone buildings at the Rhoden. The main house now functions as an event center where meetings, classes, retreats and social events are held. The main house was also rechristened the Allen Event Center in honor of the Allen family who provided the original farm adjacent to the main campus beginning A&E.
The smaller house north of the Allen Event Center was totally redesigned and serves as housing for the Rhoden farm manager. It is currently occupied by Ellice Pearce (AGRB, 2007), our current farm manager. The stone water tower was sealed and left as a landmark while its base serves as a secure site for chemical storage. The small stone garage now houses a miniature biodiesel refinery.
If you haven't been to the Rhoden in some time, the old granary and white wooden barn were dismantled and replaced with an exceptional set of stables and animal handling pens in Phase III. We are very proud of this area. In addition, a rainwater catchment system collects precipitation off the stable roof during rainfall events. We can easily catch over 6000 gallons of water with about a 1.5 inch rain.
In June 2009, Phase IV, the final stage of current renovations, began with construction of a 3750 sq. ft. enclosed multi-purpose building. An 1875 sq. ft. covered shed is attached. The building will house equipment, work benches and provide secure storage. However, its main thrust is service as a working area and place where students and faculty can gather for field laboratory sessions out of the weather. We figure it will also be a great place to host cook-outs and barbeques. Completion of the building is expected early fall 2009.
Our goal is to make this building as "green" as possible. Eventually, most water needs will be furnished through treated rainwater collected by a catchment system. We also have a solar panel array to erect that will reduce electricity requirements from traditional sources. As funds come available, we also hope to purchase a small wind-turbine to reduce our use of electricity from the grid. Demonstration plots of various native grasses, forbs and wildflowers are also planned for the area.
When you find a moment, and particularly if has been some time since you last visited the Rhoden, please be our guest and witness the transformation of A&E's field laboratories.
The Allen Events Center
Farm Manager's House
Pig Barn and Goat Barn
New Multipurpose Facility under construction
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