Marine research centre to be built in Oregon

Oregon State University has unveiled plans to build a US$50 million centre for global marine studies research and education to be built at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Centre.

The 9,290-square-metre facility is part of OSU’s marine studies initiative, designed to educate students and conduct research on marine-related issues – from sustainable fisheries and economic stability to rising sea levels and ocean acidification.

OSU’s marine studies initiative has set a goal by 2025 to teach 500 students annually in Newport and expand marine studies research.

The new facility will be located adjacent to the Guin Library on the HMSC campus. The location places the facility in close proximity to important seawater laboratories and other HMSC research facilities. Although it is within the tsunami inundation zone, OSU officials say, detailed consideration went into the siting.

The new facility could potentially be built to sustain a 9.0 earthquake and an associated tsunami. It will be designed to provide a safe, accessible, vertical roof-top evacuation alternative for those who are injured, disabled or otherwise unable to reach the preferred evacuation site on nearby Safe Haven Hill.

Oregon State officials plan to open the building as early as 2018. The Oregon Legislature approved US$24.8 million in state bonding last year to help fund the new building. Meanwhile, the OSU Foundation is raising an additional US$40 million in private funding for the Marine Studies Initiative – US$25 million to match state funds for the new building and another $15 million to support related programs.