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Update on Extensive Damage to Marine Science Institute

Campus Safety and Security sent the following message to faculty and staff on Aug. 31, 2017.



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Campus Safety and Security sent the following message to faculty and staff on Aug. 31, 2017.

Dear UT Community,

Members of the UT Community are coping with a variety of challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. With this message, we want to update you on a group of Longhorns hit especially hard by Harvey — the faculty, staff and students of The University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) in Port Aransas.

Due to extensive damage on site over the weekend, UTMSI has had to close its campus.

The institute has 112 staff, 17 faculty marine scientists and more than two dozen graduate students. The storm has displaced many of them. They are staying in hotels and other temporary settings. We want to help them as best we can and provide clear information about what they can expect next.

Their campus will remain closed for an unknown duration. College of Natural Sciences Dean Linda Hicke and UTMSI Director Bob Dickey requested that emergency accommodations be extended to the employees and students of UTMSI until such time as a safe and secure alternative workplace can be prepared for them.

Like many residents of the Texas Gulf Coast, the people in our marine science community are looking toward recovery. The hurricane caused extensive damage to the main UTMSI campus where nearly all employees work and where some of our marine science students and visiting scientists also live. In addition to the damage to scientist and student housing facilities, many of the campus’ buildings—including the new Estuarine Research Center, the administration building and the Fisheries and Mariculture Laboratory—experienced extensive damage from roofing failures and water penetration. The research pier was destroyed. There have been reports of significant damage at the Bay Education Center visitors’ site in Rockport.

It will take time to rebuild. Plans to do so are already underway. We are fortunate in that Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp offered temporary laboratory and office space for our marine scientists at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute. UTMSI Director Dickey is already working to transition faculty, staff and students to this temporary campus after it reopens in September.

This storm has had a devastating impact on thousands of people in the Longhorn family. We stand with all of them, whether in Austin or 250 miles away on the Gulf Coast.  The university cherishes UTMSI and looks forward to rebuilding it.

Campus Safety and Security