With its state-of-the-art laboratories and rooms for researching small mammals and fish of all sizes, the $51 million Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute is poised to help meet the region's growing research needs.
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On Tuesday, the building at Lena Point will open for public tours from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"We are proud of the new marine research facility, and we're inviting everyone to come have a look," said Doug DeMaster, director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, in a statement.
"This facility will bolster marine science in Alaska and will aid efforts to keep Alaska's ocean ecosystems strong and productive. Getting to where we are today was a long, broad-based effort of federal, state, local, university and private interests. We're taking Aug. 21 to recognize the success of all our efforts."
The opening marks the culmination of a 15-year effort to create Alaska's largest fisheries research facility. The 69,000 square foot, two-story building will enable scientists to expand research into Alaska fisheries and meet the growing information needs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Fisheries Service, according to an agency spokeswoman. The center provides the conference facilities, laboratory space and work space needed to bring together scientists from the many specialties that collaborate to understand and manage Alaska's fisheries, a spokeswoman wrote.
Scientists began moving in after May 1. Construction had started in May 2005.
Nearby, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has begun construction of a 30,600 square foot, $26.5 million teaching and research facility designed to hold 13 faculty, 10 research assistants and 45 students. That building is scheduled to be complete in fall 2008.