New Marine Science Building Dedicated/New Scientific Partnership Announced

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Oct 19, 2001

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo dedicated its new Marine Science Building Oct. 18. The dedication marks a milestone in the growth of its marine science program that currently enrolls more than 200 students. The program has taken educational opportunities in marine science to new levels during the past five years, including a growing number of courses being offered at Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The $2.75 million, 10,309-square-foot facility provides a central location for classrooms, labs and offices, while creating much-needed space to accommodate the increasing number of students pursuing degrees in Marine Science. The new building will also position the University to engage in future discoveries about the ocean and the world around it.

"Our location in the Pacific gives us an advantage in oceanography and marine science that other universities can only envy," said Chancellor Rose Tseng. "We have attracted many notable marine scientists from across the nation and the world because of the opportunity to do hands-on research, both in the ocean here, and in courses at Midway Atoll in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands".

The new building houses a number of state of the art features, including an analytical lab, where students and faculty can carry out chemical analyses of marine sediment, water and organisms. A computer lab provides access to the latest technology for a variety of research and presentation applications. Research activities have also been enhanced through the addition of a wet lab, complete with a prep and storage room. The building will also house in its own special room, the department's ScanningElectron Microscope (SEM), which is used in teaching and research to view and magnify tiny details of marine specimens.

Both classrooms, will eventually be equipped with digital projectors directly linked to the Internet. The larger of the two, which doubles as a lecture hall, offers multi-media audio-visual capabilities for classes,public forums, guest speakers, and marine science symposia. A separate seminar room doubles as the department's library-reading room, in addition to hosting meetings, group discussions, and senior student seminars.

"The opening of this building is a very important step in the development of one of our most active, vibrant and high profile programs," said Dr. Walter Dudley, professor of marine geology/oceanography and marine science chair. "The program had its birth with the development of a very strong Marine Option Program at UH Hilo over 20 years ago. And now this fine building marks yet another phase in the development of the program, giving us the laboratories and classrooms we've long needed."

In addition to its new Marine Science Building, the University today announced a formal partnership with the National Ocean Service (NOS) -- a bureau within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The partnership, established through a memorandum of agreement, not only commits the University and federal parties to greater cooperation in the marine science field, but emphasizes increased public awareness concerning the coral reef ecosystem of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

As a feature of the new partnership, the University has leased commercial space in the S. Hata Building on Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo, and in turn the Ocean Service will fund the creation of an interpretive center on the first floor. The facility will provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the islands and coral atoll ecosystems of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

"Today's dedication and the soon to-be-developed National Ocean Service interpretive center furthers our academic excellence, stimulates our potential to be world-class leaders, and promises to bring the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo to the forefront of marine science education and research," Tseng said.

The Marine Science building is designed by CDS International and constructed by Isemoto Contracting Co., Ltd.