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Jun 8, 2012 3:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Ground Broken On New Stony Brook Southampton Marine Sciences Center

Jun 12, 2012 4:42 PM

Standing in front of two boats—one adorned with a banner sporting the logo for Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences—elected officials, students, faculty and members of the community at large gathered on Friday afternoon in Shinnecock Hills to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new multimillion-dollar Marine Sciences Center to be constructed at Stony Brook Southampton.

The Stony Brook Marine Sciences Center, which will replace three old buildings on Little Neck Road, off Old Fort Pond and just south of the main campus, has a price tag of about $8.35 million—a cost that will be mostly borne by New York State, according to James Montalto, the media relations manager for Stony Brook University. The state will be paying $6.9 million, he said.

Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said when the university first purchased the campus, the existing Marine Sciences Center was “a little long in the tooth.” Significant environmental studies have taken place at the school, he said—studies that directly relate to Long Island’s habitat.

“This is work that really matters on Long Island,” Mr. Stanley said. “Long Island is a place that values its natural resources. We believe in protecting the environment. But we also have a very active fisheries industry as well. So the work that’s going on in this Marine Sciences Center has a direct impact.”

The goal of the facility is to expand the campus’s marine science research offered at the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), officials said at the press conference.

The building will be 15,000 square feet, two stories tall and will include a “state-of-the art, 2,500-square-foot seawater lab,” according to a Stony Brook University SoMAS pamphlet describing the facility. Among other features, the building will also have two wet labs, an analytical lab, a conference room. and a large lobby/gathering room that will serve as a community hub for public lectures and summer educational programs. There will also be an outdoor tank area.

Lauren Sheprow, a media relations officer at Stony Brook University, said the center is expected to be finished by fall 2013.

New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and 
Christopher Gobler, the director of academic programs for 
SoMAS at Stony Brook Southampton, all lauded the new center.

“The sun is shining on the Southampton campus today, in more than one way,” Mr. Thiele said at Friday’s press conference.

Known for his strong support of Stony Brook University, Mr. LaValle, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, was wearing a red Stony Brook University lacrosse baseball cap as he addressed the attendees. He called the center “a big win” for the community and hinted at “other announcements down the road” at Stony Brook Southampton.

Mr. Gobler referred to the scene behind him—the vista of the Shinnecock Bay—noting that even though on the surface the water looks beautiful, pollution has left the local ecosystem and fisheries “in trouble.” “These are very serious problems that require very serious research to address and to come up with solutions,” he said.

With the new center, Mr. Gobler said he hopes it will give the school the ability to attract students “across Long Island, across New York, across the country, and maybe even across the world.”

It was a nostalgic event for Francis Zappone, the deputy supervisor of Southampton Town, who grew up in the neighborhood near the school. The new Marine Sciences Center will be built near where he spent his summers in high school and college, working at a marina that was known in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the Shinnecock Boat Yard, he said. “I caught my own fish and dug my own clams right in this water,” he added.

Mr. Zappone said he’s very supportive of the location of the new Marine Sciences Center. It was, after all, where he caught his very first fish—a snapper. “It evidences the fact that this is going to stick around for a while,” he said.

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The more young, brilliant minds learing about the ocean, the better.

Africa is the cradle of humanity; the ocean is the "Cradle of Life".
By Mr. Z (11830), North Sea on Jun 8, 12 3:31 PM
... looks beautiful, great addition. Now release the choke hold Stony Brook has on the campus across the street and build a state college with concentrations in the fine arts, marine sciences and hotel/restaurant/hospitality management. The place would be "sold out " upon completion and might do something to help alleviate the twenty six empty stores in downtown Southampton.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Jun 9, 12 9:50 AM
3 members liked this comment