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updated: 8/9/2014 10:15 AM

EIU's 300-year-old oak coming down

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Associated Press

CHARLESTON, Ill. -- A bur oak tree on the Eastern Illinois University campus that could be as old as 300 years is coming down after part of it broke away.

Tim Zimmer is director of facilities planning at the university in Charleston. He said Friday that his department planned to take massive tree down. He said the tree is no longer considered safe.

The tree sits just east of the university's Old Main administration building and has a trunk that's 61 inches across.

Parts of the tree have long been dead. Campus officials have said a lightning strike around 2002 likely started the tree's decline.

University President Bill Perry decided Friday to cut it down.

But Zimmer said about 30 saplings grown from the tree's acorns are still growing on the university's campus.

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