Marine Science Institute Gets $7.7 Million in Federal Funding for New Building at Port Aransas Campus

The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) will receive $3.5 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for construction of a new headquarters building for its Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The grant brings the total amount of NOAA funding for the project to $7.7 million.

The building will be on UTMSI's campus in Port Aransas and will contain new laboratories for resident and visiting scientists and students, administrative offices for Mission-Aransas Reserve staff and partners, and meeting space.

Construction of the Mission-Aransas Reserve headquarters building represents the first major expansion of facilities at UTMSI in more than 25 years.

"This project will provide the facilities that the reserve needs to fulfill its mission, but it is also an ideal opportunity to build beyond the needs of the reserve and provide for growth of the institute's other research activities," said Lee Fuiman, director of UTMSI.

UTMSI is the managing agency for the Mission-Aransas Reserve, which is considered one of the most pristine and productive estuaries in the national system of 27 reserves. Its mission is to develop and foster partnerships that enhance coastal decision-making through an integrated program of research, education and stewardship.

Reserve staff operate from renovated space that was formerly a garage and storage space.

The federal funding received for this project requires $3.3 million in matching funds from non-federal sources.

UTMSI and the Texas General Land Office are working together to identify possible sources for the required matching funds. The University of Texas at Austin is providing the land and operating costs for the new headquarters building. The project is supported by State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.