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UNH Announces Plans for New Coastal Marine Laboratory

The Result of $14 Million in NOAA Funding Secured by U.S. Senator Gregg

By Sharon Keeler
UNH News Bureau
603-862-1566

September 25, 2001


DURHAM, N.H. -- University of New Hampshire President Joan Leitzel today announced the university's plans to build a new coastal marine laboratory and pier in New Castle, N.H. Construction of the facility is made possible by a $14 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), secured by U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) through his position as the ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds NOAA.

The five-acre parcel of land on which the facility will be built and the old pier at the mouth of the Piscataqua River were transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to UNH last year.

"We are most thankful to Senator Judd Gregg and NOAA for their sustained leadership and support in helping to develop and fund marine-related activities at UNH," says Leitzel. "This facility will provide a new home for our marine research programs and help further position our university as a regional and national resource for excellence in research, teaching, technology transfer and marine policy."

The new facility will replace UNH's outdated Coastal Marine Laboratory, which is located in an old building next to Fort Constitution. According to Hunt Howell, director of UNH's Center for Marine Biology, it will provide more space and better support for research and teaching.

"The lab will support marine research by providing a flowing seawater facility where experiments and holding of marine organisms occur," says Howell. "It will serve as a base for field research, and as a SCUBA support facility."

He adds that the lab will support marine education, including instruction of laboratory components of many marine science courses, and provide a facility where graduate and undergraduate research projects will take place. It will also be a venue for outreach to the general public, primary and secondary schools, through programming and tours.

The Coastal Marine Laboratory will be the home of the NOAA-UNH Cooperative Institute for New England Mariculture and Fisheries (CINEMar). The institute houses the multi-faceted open ocean aquaculture demonstration project underway at UNH. Sen. Gregg has secured $9.2 million in NOAA funding since 1988 for this project and CINEMar.

The new facility will also support some aspects of other UNH marine science and ocean engineering programs including the NOAA-UNH Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), the NOAA-UNH Joint Hydrography Center, the Center for Ocean and Coastal Mapping and the Sea Grant Program.

"NOAA is pleased with its partnership with the University of New Hampshire on a wide variety of marine programs," says Scott Gudes, NOAA acting administrator. "This building and pier will provide dock space, staging area and laboratories for the offshore aquaculture program, as well as the Joint Hydrographic Center and other joint UNH/NOAA programs. The new lab and classroom space are important in bringing students and faculty into more intimate contact with ongoing field work and with the final users of our research, particularly industry."

Initial plans for the pier are to build a 375- to 450-foot replacement for visiting ships and a floating dock for UNH facilities. Appledore Engineering, Inc., of Portsmouth, has been chosen to design the new pier. Construction is expected to begin a year from now, with completion anticipated in December 2003, according to Paul Chamberlin, UNH director of design and construction.

A consultant will be chosen shortly to oversee site development and design for the 23,000-square-foot marine laboratory. UNH officials are working closely with the town of New Castle to assure the facility is compatible in design with the historic surroundings. Construction is tentatively expected to begin in March 2003, with completion anticipated in July 2004.

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