In 2019, Weiler Forestry, a forest products manufacturer with operations in Georgia and North Carolina, purchased the purpose-built forestry division of Caterpillar. With the acquisition they also acquired the Caterpillar Center, a training facility located in Auburn, Alabama.
The Caterpillar Center was created through an agreement between the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and Caterpillar in the early 2000s. In exchange for use of the center for teaching and extension purposes, the school granted permission to Caterpillar to construct the training facility on university property.
In 2020, Weiler Forestry closed the operation and subsequently gifted the center’s 3,584 square feet of modular units to the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. The units include office space, a classroom, kitchen, restrooms and other features.
“This facility will allow the school to free valuable office and lab space within the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building for new faculty and students, said Janaki Alavalapati,” dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. “With our current rate of growth, increasing our capacities is a top priority. Weiler Forestry’s generous donation supports that critical need.”