Last week Stony Brook University officials, along with faculty, students and state and local officials, gathered at the Southampton campus to celebrate the opening of the new Marine Sciences Center for the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
The new, two-story, 15,000-square foot Marine Sciences Center supports the growth of the SoMAS undergraduate marine science and environmental science programs, ultimately making it easier to offer more classes with rich experiential components such as marine biology, marine mammals, and physical oceanography. The new center also plays an important role in the ability to perform groundbreaking research, with particular attention to issues facing marine estuaries on Long Island.
The new center, which cost about $8.3 million, was made possible through $6.9 million secured in the New York State budget by Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele. The remainder was paid for by Stony Brook University.
"This new Marine Science Center is another step forward for the Southampton Campus of Stony Brook University," said Thiele. "We've seen a lot of steps forward; from the growth of Southampton Arts, Semester by the Sea, residential students living here, and our continued discussions that will eventually yield in the move of Southampton Hospital to the Southampton Campus. It is great to see so much progress here."
The facility has been under construction since June 2012 and will connect SoMAS to Shinnecock Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The new center replaced three small existing buildings and houses a 2500-square foot Sea Water Lab with a computerized circulation system including four different temperature lines, as well as recirculation capabilities and quarantine and culture rooms. Two wet labs, an analytical lab, classrooms, a conference room, and other lab and support spaces, including an outdoor tank area, are also featured in the newly constructed facility.
"Now in addition to the Stony Brook campus, Southampton will be pivotal in the economic development of Long Island and will help advance Start-Up NY, particularly on the East end of Long Island," said LaValle during his remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning. "I am confident that research done here over time will help resolve the problems we face on our waters, and hopefully put an end to our hearing about brown tides and algae blooms on our waterways."
According to the National Research Council, SoMAS is ranked sixth in the United States among marine and atmospheric sciences graduate programs. President Samuel Stanley said the new center will solidify Stony Brook's reputation as the strongest undergraduate marine sciences program on the east coast and one of the best in the United States.
"The construction of the Marine Sciences Center and other initiatives . . . make Stony Brook a great training ground for the world's future though leaders: citizens who will promote policies and take actions in our communities to tackle the substantial environmental problems we face and it will lead the way in creating a sustainable future for our environment and for humanity," said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dennis Assanis.