The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is scheduled to break ground Friday in New Bedford on a 76,000-square-foot facility for its School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST).
The $55 million building will be constructed on a former Naval Reserve Center site in collaboration with the state's Division of Marine Fisheries.
Combined with the existing SMAST facility next door, the project will create a comprehensive marine science campus in New Bedford, which is recognized as the nation's top fishing port and a potential base for offshore wind energy development.
The university says coastal and marine-related activities are critical to the Massachusetts economy--the combined impact of the coastal and marine economies in the state has been estimated to exceed $130 billion and more than 1.3 million jobs.
"The oceans play a key role in our coastal economy and way of life, and are undergoing dramatic changes related to climate and human activity," said School for Marine Science and Technology Dean Steven Lohrenz . "By bringing our faculty, students and staff together with our partners at the Division of Marine Fisheries, we better position the University, Commonwealth and region to understand and respond to these changes."
The project will include a fully functional seawater facility; administrative and seminar spaces; and secure boat and equipment storage.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2017.