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Mote's Summerland Key facility nears finish line

The research facility will help expand programs focusing on studying and restoring coral reef.

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  • | 3:04 p.m. December 12, 2016
  • Longboat Key
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Construction on Mote Marine Laboratory’s new coral research facility is making its way to the finish line.

The Florida Keys facility, which is completely supported by philanthropy, especially Mote’s Oceans of Opportunity campaign, is officially in the last steps of construction and remains on schedule to open by spring 2017, Mote leaders announced Dec. 12.

Through the new facility, Mote’s programs focusing on studying and restoring damaged coral reefs and finding ways to address global threats to reefs will expand, which will help ensure the revival of a coral reef tract that is the basis of more than 70,000 jobs and more than $6 billion in annual economic impact for the state.

Over the next month, contractors will lift and assemble vehicle-sized pieces of precast concrete to complete the final sections of the structural frame for the International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration on Mote’s Summerland Key Campus. In the new year, drywall and laboratory fixtures will be placed inside the building, a news release from Mote said.

The old building was recently demolished and scientists have been working out of temporary on-site trailers. The new building, at 19,000 square-feet, will more than double the research and education space at the property.

“It has been incredible seeing the growth of Mote over the past 15 years I’ve been with Mote,” said Mote Senior Scientist Dr. David Vaughan, Executive Director of Mote’s Summerland Key campus in a statement. “Today, we are still continuing to grow with this new, incredible building that will allow us to expand our coral restoration efforts and collaborate with other scientists around the world, as well as house and teach thousands of kids in summer camps to increase the next generation’s interest in our oceans.”

The facility is being designed in hopes of earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, Gold Certification. If the facility reaches that goal, it will be the first LEED Gold-certified facility in Monroe County, Mote’s statement said.



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