The first of three wooden cabins built by students was constructed in 1977 as part of an alternative living project proposed and led by the late Robert W. Alrutz, a professor of biology. One of the three cabins burned in the winter of 2000 and "Cabin Phoenix," a building constructed with rammed earth, tires and straw bales, is taking its place. A fourth cabin, "Cabin Bob," was built in 2001 with straw bale walls and serves as a kitchen and common study area. Located north of the main campus on 250 acres, The Homestead is a living-learning experience unique among American colleges and universities. It is a student-run, intentional community with a focus on ecological sustainability that houses twelve students per semester.