URI’s $15M ocean research center opens

NARRAGANSETT – The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography this morning held a grand opening ceremony for its new $15 million Ocean Science and Exploration Center and Pell Marine Science Library.

The new facility, built on the site of the now-demolished Pell Library at the entrance to URI’s Bay Campus in Narragansett, includes research facilities, office and laboratory space, a central computing facility and a new campus meeting place. The entire complex cost $15 million, most of which was paid for by state bonds. Construction began in November 2007.

It also includes the Inner Space Center, a research facility promoted by Robert D. Ballard, the URI oceanographer and professor, to serve as a central communications point for Ballard and other researchers.

“We’re essentially building the ground floor of the Houston Space Center for ocean exploration,” Ballard told Providence Business News. “It’s incredibly exciting.”

Among those scheduled to attend today’s ceremony were Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, URI President Robert L. Carothers, URI Graduate School of Oceanography Dean David Farmer, URI Professor Robert Ballard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Assistant Administrator Richard Spinrad, and NOAA Rear Adm. Jonathan Bailey.

A full report on the new building is published in this week’s print edition of Providence Business News.

Additional information on URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography is available at gso.uri.edu.

By PBN Staff

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