UNCW finishes one project, turns around, starts another
Marine technology advances abound
October 22, 2010By Alison Lee Satake
UNCW officials cut the ribbon on the new shellfish hatchery and held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Marine Biotechnology in North Carolina research and development lab Friday on the last day of meetings for the UNCW Board of Trustees. Both facilities are located at the university’s Center for Marine Science campus off Masonboro Loop Road.
The shellfish hatchery is an 11,704-square-foot research facility designed to breed and grow larval oysters, clams and scallops.
Researchers will study sustainable harvesting and work to restore depleted natural populations. The state-of-the art facility was designed by Frank Harmon Architects in Raleigh and built by Paragon Building Corp. in Wilmington.
“This is one of the first [shellfish hatcheries] built in the United States,” said Renee Duncan, an estimator with Paragon Building Corp.
The state funded the $4.3 million facility and the North Carolina General Assembly passed a baseline operations budget for it this summer.
The State Department of Inspections granted the university “beneficial occupancy,” which allows the hatchery’s director Ami Wilbur access to test some of the equipment. A mix-up in the HVAC system in the aquaculture part of the lab has delayed the facility from becoming fully operational, Wilbur said. UNCW recently dedicated funds to staff Wilbur and one research technician to run the facility.
The 69,000-square-foot MARBIONC research and development facility will contain 74 research modules available for rent by public and private companies. Construction is expected to begin in January, said Paul Reinmann, assistant director for fixed operations and planning at the Center for Marine Science.
Reinmann and MARBIONC director Daniel Baden applied for federal stimulus funds. Their application was one of 93 proposals received by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. MARBIONC was one of the seven projects to receive a portion of the $80 million in federal stimulus funds. The research and development lab, which is expected to open in 2012, received $15 million in matching funds for construction NIST.