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WKU Habitat chapter constructs bridge for Durbin Estates project

WKU Habitat chapter constructs bridge for Durbin Estates project

The WKU campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity has engineered and constructed a bridge at Durbin Estates that will traverse the drainage channel and connect trails at the statewide demonstration project on Glen Lily Road in Bowling Green.

The WKU Habitat for Humanity campus chapter has built a bridge at the Durbin Estates project off Glen Lily Road in Bowling Green. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Reaka)

The WKU Habitat for Humanity campus chapter has built a bridge at the Durbin Estates project off Glen Lily Road in Bowling Green. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Reaka)

The trails provide opportunities for recreation and exercise to community residents, and educational signs placed along the trails explain concepts of stormwater management, green infrastructure, karst environments and low impact development. A partnership with Bowling Green Independent Schools means the site also serves as an outdoor learning laboratory for school groups and other site visitors.

Durbin Estates is a multi-phase project to develop a mixed-income mixed-use green affordable housing community and is a partnership project between Habitat for Humanity Bowling Green-Warren County, WKU and others.

Dr. Bryan Reaka, associate professor in WKU’s Department of Architectural & Manufacturing Sciences and Habitat campus chapter advisor, has guided the bridge project and worked closely with students in its implementation.

The Durbin Estates project site is located across the road from the new Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School that is scheduled to open in fall 2014. Teachers and students from the school will have easy access to the site for education on topics as diverse as protecting water quality and habitat, to organic gardening methods, to green building, to tips for “living lightly” on the land. Warren County and other school systems also can use the site for educational purposes.

“This project benefits our students, families, and the community and we are proud to be a partner with it,” said Vicki Writsel, assistant superintendent of Bowling Green Independent Schools and an active Advisory Council member for the Durbin Project.

Initial grant funding provided by the Kentucky Division of Water through a 319(h) nonpoint source pollution grant from the Environmental Protection Agency terminates soon but the project will continue thanks to funding obtained from other sources and the ongoing commitment by Habitat affiliates to volunteer labor.

Principal Investigator Nancy Givens of the WKU Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability emphasizes that this is a model project that exemplifies the potential for universities to work in creative partnership with schools, government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits to transform communities toward sustainable development.

Other key partners to the project include WKU departments: Planning, Design and Construction, Landscaping, WKU PBS, and Hoffman Institute; Kentucky Habitat for Humanity, Bowling Green Division of Public Works; Arnold Consulting, Engineering, and Surveying, Inc. (ACES); Service One Credit Union; Roundstone Native Seed, LLC; Bluegrass PRIDE; and others.

Contact: Nancy Givens, nancy.givens@wku.edu or (270) 745-2842.

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