National Great Rivers Research and Education Center Confluence Field Station
The first phase of construction on the 35,000 square-foot National Great Rivers Research and Education Field Station began in 2008. The building sits on four acres leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers south of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam in Alton, Ill.
The Field Station, strategically located near the confluence of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers, will serve as an international center for science, education and public outreach, related to key issues that will improve sustainable management of large rivers. The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center hosts international conferences, symposia and information exchanges aimed at discovering linkages in existing research and acquiring new information to fill knowledge gaps related to large rivers and the human communities that depend on these ecosystems.
The field station will provide researchers access to the river and the riverine mesocosms and wet lab facililties will allow researchers to conduct unique experiments to expand our understanding of the structure and function of floodplain-river ecosystems, information that is vital to the development of conservation strategies to sustain the natural resources these systems provide and economic benefits derived from these resources.
The Field Station building itself incorporates many “green” elements, including solar, wind and hydro-kinetic systems, internal and external water recycling systems, a vegetative roof and more (see Building Features on back). The project’s goal is to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the platinum level, which is the highest rating possible.
NGRREC is formed by a unique partnership of the University of Illinois, the Illinois Natural History Survey and Lewis and Clark Community College. In addition to the scientific advances and educational opportunities that NGRREC staff members provide, they also stimulate the local and regional economy by obtaining funding from federal, state and private sources, the majority of which is used to employ people in the area and to purchase equipment and supplies from local vendors.
Building Features • IDOT roadway with pervious pavers, three experimental types of pavers never before attempted by IDOT, bioswales used to divert storm water (instead of curb and gutter), LED lighting, extension of the MCT Bike Trail onto the property • River Pump with Barge Protection Piers, VFD motors capable of 1.8M gallons a day, fill mesocosms (large concrete channels containing flowing water and plankton pumped directly from the river to be used as artificial environments for experiments) • Dragonfly Educational Pond, a teaching area for field trips • Landscaping with numerous types of native species and educational zones explaining types of plants and benefits • EPDM roofing system is a green living roof with insultation, 12 inches of growing media (special dirt) and 3 feet of native prairie grass, an observation deck (educational area) and ADA accessible ramp • Water efficiency systems: - River water system to feed wet-labs and the educational pond -Storm water system to feed exterior hose bids and garage washdown -Grey water system to feed toilets and urinals for flushing -Domestic water system to feed hand sinks and water fountains -On site sewage treatment system with tertiary and secondary wetlands, U/V-Micron filter-chemical treatments and a 5,000 gallon Grey water storage tank -Storm water collection system to capture 100 percent of roof water, storm water diverters to remove large debris and a 10,000 gallon storm water tank for storage -Solar hot water system - All hot water will be heated by solar panels then stored for use • Electrical items: -On site generation of electricity will include a wind turbine and an experimental hydrokinetic turbine facility
-Excess power could be sold back to Ameren • Heating, ventilating and air conditioning: -Cold water cooling system supplemented by river water connection and ice storage tanks for off peak Ameren hours -Heating system to use separate electric heat at every office and classroom for efficiency and the fact that the station will be generating its own electricity -Heat wheel to be located in Make Up Air Unit to capture tempered portion of exhausted air and make reuse of it on supply side • Recycled material used on project includes: -Concrete- Use of highest possible amount of Fly Ash -Rebar in concrete- Made from 95 percent reclaimed steel -Metal studs- Made from 99 percent recycled metal -Insulation- Made from newspaper and recycled paper -Rubber floor tiles- 100 percent recycled material -Countertops- Made from recycled glass - Bathroom floor and wall tiles- made from 100 percent recycled glass -Carpet- Contains percentage of recycled material -90 percent of construction related waste will be recycled • Educational aspects 1) Dragonfly Pond and Educational Area 2) IDOT Roadway Pavers 3) Landscaping Interpretational Zones 4) Roof Observation Deck • Interior lobby area 1) Designed to feel like the exterior 2) Classroom that opens to the lobby area 3) Numerous educational kiosks and wall features 4) Green Touch Screen System -Four 32” Plasma type touch screens, user friendly and aimed at public, one lowered for children -Quantified through graphs- Water efficiency items, electrical generation items, interior and exterior temperatures, material use items, comparisons to similarly sized normal building, interactive floor plans, employee directory • Lobby will be opened year round • Roof observation area will be accessible by a request process, as will tours of the interior laboratory space
Fact scheet I designed to feature the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in Alton, IL in the fall of 2009. Copyright LCCC.