Marine Sciences Building Dedicated at Avery Point Campus
By Janice Palmer, Office of University Communications
STORRS, Conn. -- During a ceremony on the banks of Long Island
Sound, officials of the University of Connecticut today cut a seaweed
ribbon dedicating the
$24 million Marine Sciences Building. Located on the Avery Point
Campus, it serves as the critical foundation for a new initiative to
become one of the nation's
top coastal marine sciences programs.
"The University of Connecticut has long been the site of excellent
work on marine sciences, and this building gives us a facility to
match the quality of our
instructional and research program," said UConn President Philip
E. Austin. He spoke before an audience of about nearly 200 state
and local dignitaries, UConn
marine sciences faculty and students.
"This building and this campus give us the capacity to build on
a very strong foundation and move into the very select company of
institutions recognized as
leaders in this field," Austin said. "This is part of a transformation
made possible by the people of Connecticut through their elected l
eaders, and we are grateful
for their support," he said.
The Marine Sciences Building was funded by the UCONN 2000
program, a 10-year, $1 billion effort to rebuild, renew and enhance
the University's campuses.
The 140,000-square foot structure replaces two 1940's era concrete
block buildings that had been intended for temporary use by the
Coast Guard. "If ever there
was a natural linkage between a university and its community, it
is the connection between marine sciences and this part of our state.
This is a relationship to be
cherished, nurtured and expanded, and we are firmly committed to
moving in that direction," Austin said.
By embarking on a mission to develop a Center of Excellence in
coastal marine sciences, and over the next five years, become one
of the top three programs in
the nation, UConn is delving into relatively uncharted waters. While
most institutions focus their research on either the deep ocean or
the land, the intersection of
the two has yet to receive as much attention.
"This facility is among the best in the nation for doing
comprehensive research in coastal areas," said Robert Whitlatch,
head of the program. "It is a seawater,
chemical and biology facility all wrapped up in one. Combine that
with our research vessel and our location on Long Island Sound -
a natural laboratory - and
we are uniquely positioned to move forward in new arenas of research,
education and outreach."
The coastal zone is an area integral to the economic health
of the state, region, and nation and it is where humans have great
influence and impact. More than 50
percent of the U.S. population lives within 100 miles of an ocean.
Some of the building's highlights include:
- Distance learning classroom linking Avery Point to the
University's other campuses;
- Three teaching laboratories, each designed for specific
needs in chemistry, biology, and hydro dynamics instruction;
- Computer classroom - designed specifically for computer
- Eighteen individual faculty laboratories, in addition to four
"clean" chemistry labs for precise measurement of heavy metals,
organic pollutants and other
- Six environmental chambers in which temperature and light
can be controlled to mimic specific conditions in Long Island
Sound, the Gulf of Maine or most
any other body of water;
- Walk-in research freezer for scientists studying organisms
from Antarctic and polar environments in their natural state.
Whitlatch said the new facility is already paying dividends.
"We've always believed that having the very best facility can help
attract quality faculty and students.
And now that the doors to our new building are open, we've attracted
an important corporate partner as well."
During a ceremony this morning, Sun Microsystems presented
Austin and Whitlatch with a plaque designating the UConn Marine
Sciences Program as a Sun
Center of Excellence for Oceanography. The company is donating
high performance computing equipment valued by Sun at an estimated
September 2001 Releases