Project Period

September 1, 1999-April 30, 2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number

9907560

Submission Date

5-2-2002

Abstract

Since 1991, the University of Maine has made significant financial investments in its marine laboratory, the Darling Marine Center to equally benefit both University personnel and visiting colleges and researchers. During 1997-99 alone, the University supported improvements including a student dormitory/dining hall. New flowing seawater facilities (construction to begin spring 2000), a new 42' coastal research vessel (under construction), and more classroom microscopes and computers (delivered and in use) have also been supported. All of these improvements directly benefit visitors and they reflect a stated policy of encouraging increased use of the facilities by visiting investigators and outside colleges. Extensive marketing and word-of-mouth testimonials by visitors have resulted in a dramatic increase in visitor use of the facilities. While the Center strongly encourages visiting scientists and colleges to make use of its facilities, the growing popularity of visitor programs has resulted in a serious shortage of lab and classroom space. Educational and research opportunities for visitors are being restricted by a lack of adequate teaching and research space.

The increasing demand for lab and classroom space exceeds current capacity and the facility is now unable to accommodate all potential visitors during some periods of the year. Based on several years of experience serving visitor needs, it has been learned that it is most efficient to provide flexible, multi-user space that can serve both educational and research needs. Therefore, the University will construct a 1290 sq. ft. Visiting Investigator/Classroom addition to a new Marine Culture Laboratory scheduled to be built in spring 2000. This facility will create more space for visiting scientists, it will allow out-of-state colleges to bring more students to the center, and it will make it possible for more than one visiting college to conduct courses simultaneously.

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