Officials broke ground this past weekend for a new building at The University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.
"This building is the Marine Science Institute's footprint for the future," said institute Director Lee Fuiman in a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 1.
The three-floor building, designed by Richter Architects, will house the Mission-Aransas Reserve's research labs, offices and seawater facilities for live animals on the first and second floors. The Marine Science Institute will have offices and new research labs on the third floor.
"This expansion will give the Marine Science Institute the ability to recruit more faculty and graduate students, and thereby enable us to increase our knowledge of and impact on fisheries, oceans and estuaries," Fuiman said. "This partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's nationwide reserve system continues to benefit the institute, local communities and the state."
The building includes solar cells, a rainwater catchment system for irrigation and wetlands to filter storm water runoff and prevent pollution from entering the Gulf of Mexico.
Financial support for the building is being provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ($9.5 million), The University of Texas at Austin ($2.6 million), $700,000 in state funding secured by Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-Mission, and private donations. An additional $6.3 million is being provided as a loan from The University of Texas at Austin.