Construction of the Research Center is triggering additional changes to our physical plant as we recycle existing buildings to better accommodate RMBL’s mission. These changes are driven by our desire to ensure RMBL’s long-term sustainability, minimize impacts to research sites, and to gracefully accommodate users and visitors of our facilities. The following changes will remove two buildings from wetlands, open up more meadow habitat, and cluster use around the county road and other buildings. While these changes include an addition of approximately 3500 square feet to RMBL’s total physical plant, there will be no net increase to the number of buildings nor change RMBL’s programs and operations.
The changes started last fall with the relocation of Murray Lab to a site close to the physical plant shop. This summer Murray Lab will remain a laboratory for field researchers. After the new Research Center is complete (timeframe early summer 2012) Murray will become a new storage facility, replacing Old Johnson as storage.
Thanks to a gift from the Weekley family Old Johnson will be converted to a Visitor’s Center this fall. RMBL will move Old Johnson out of the wetlands to a location just north of the Town Hall/General Store. The General Store contents will be moved into Old Johnson and will be integrated with displays about RMBL as well as meeting space for groups. Additional planned physical plant improvements include the creation of a traffic circle in front of the new Research Center, installation of a new water supply next to Maroon Cabin and associated improvements to our water distribution system. In 2011 we will also finish the renovation on the Richards Cabin and make improvements to the septic systems in its vicinity.
In 2012 much, though not all, of the research space in Willey Laboratory will be moved into the new esearch Center. This space in Willey will eventually be coverted to office and administrative space. Weese, which currently holds summer office space, will either be removed or converted to meeting space. The Kids Nature Camp, which is currently based out of the Old Savoy cabin, will move into the General Store building and Old Savoy (also located in wetlands) will be removed (with its logs recycled).