Stony Brook University officials and state lawmakers broke ground Friday in Southampton on a state-of-the-art $8.3 million marine sciences center for the university’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
The new LEED-certified 15,000-square-foot facility will replace the current research building on Old Fort Pond, which connects SoMAS to Shinnecock Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is being developed to support the growth of SoMAS' undergraduate marine and environmental science programs, including Semester by the Sea, in which students from all over the world are invited to spend a term living at the Southampton campus and using SoMAS' laboratories and vessels.
University President Samuel Stanley said Friday that the research center will help SoMAS recruit great faculty member, as well as great students.
A 2,500-square-foot sea water lab will include a computerized circulation system with a titanium heat exchanger to preheat or precool incoming sea water, achieving energy savings while reducing the overall size of the heating and cooling equipment, according to the university. The research center will also include two wet labs, an analytical lab, a classroom, conference room and other lab and support spaces, including an outdoor tank area that will expand the lab resources outside of the building.
"The significantly more sophisticated seawater lab will facilitate next-generation research on both the causes and solutions for pressing marine environmental issues," said Christopher Gobler, the director of academic programs for SoMAS. "I can say with confidence that with this building, SoMAS is poised to offer the best undergraduate marine science degree in the nation."
The university expects the project will be completed in fall of 2013.
Most of the funding — $6.9 million — was secured in the New York State budget by Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor. The remainder will be paid for by Stony Brook University.
“This announcement begins the process to energize the Southampton campus,” LaValle said during his remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It’s a sign that the state and Stony Brook are serious about the Southampton site and investing in the economy of this area. The new marine sciences center will be recognized as a beacon by people from afar.”
University Provost Dennis N. Assanis said, “The construction of the marine sciences center at Southampton will ensure that Stony Brook will continue to be a world leader in marine science education and research — areas of critical importance to the world in the 21st Century, and especially to the people of Long Island.”