The largest and best equipped marine research facility on the Gulf Coast
Galveston, Tex. TAMUG – Texas A&M University at Galveston officially dedicated its highly sophisticated, 109,000 square-foot Ocean and Coastal Studies Building (OCSB) with a special ceremony Nov. 11.
Dr. William Merrell, TAMUG’s Acting Vice President and CEO, hosted the formal dedication activities.
Distinguished guests included Dr. R. Bowen Loften, President of Texas A&M University; Dr. Michael D. McKinney, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System; dignitaries from TAMU and the TAMU System (including Regent Lupe Fraga representing the TAMU System Board of Regents); a number of local, regional and state leaders; and the TAMUG Board of Visitors. Additionally, special guests B. Greg Mitchell and John W. Lyons Jr. were among the many other alumni, friends and TAMUG supporters on hand for the dedication.
Loftin, who stepped in to the TAMU presidency in February, was Vice President and CEO at the Galveston campus during the OCSB’s planning and construction phases.
In addition to a formal program, the dedication activities included tours to showcase research facilities housed in the new building.
After an April 2008 ground-breaking -- and slight delay due to a bout with Hurricane Ike later that year -- TAMUG opened the $53 million OCSB – before the start of the current academic year in July.
Today, it is the largest and best equipped marine research facility on the Gulf Coast -- standing among the finest facilities of its kind in the nation.
The OCSB is equipped to support some 40 faculty researchers (and that number includes permanent laboratory space for four visiting researchers) and approximately 100 graduate students.
In addition, the OCSB also offers classroom and laboratories for undergraduate students in ten scientific major areas of study.
All the TAMUG research and education programs are connected by a general theme that focuses on understanding and sustaining ocean and coastal resources.
Another outstanding feature of the new building that will facilitate faculty and students in their concentration on ocean related studies is its proximity to TAMUG’s small boat basin where they will have ready access to research vessels.
In the laboratories, faculty scientists and their students pursue chemical, physical and biological research with special concentrations in wetlands, marine animals, seafood safety, trace metals analysis, benthic biology and coastal processes.
The building houses TAMUG’s Texas Institute of Oceanography, Center for Texas Beaches and Shores, Texas Seafood Safety Laboratory, Laboratory of Oceanographic and Environmental Research, Coastal Zone Laboratory and the university’s Marine Biology and Marine Sciences academic departments.
TAMUG researchers now who have relocated their laboratories into the OCSB are working in areas that are critical to the State of Texas -- addressing issues such as: beach and salt marsh restoration, sea food safety, oil spill remediation, support for fisheries and nurseries and study of fish and sea life migration patterns.
Until opening this new facility, a significant number of faculty members and graduate students had to shuttle between their laboratories and research projects at Fort Crockett and lectures, meetings and events on the Mitchell campus. Similarly, the many undergraduate students engaged in research continually needed to travel back and forth from their work at Fort Crockett (4700 Avenue U near Seawall Boulevard).
The space provided in the new OCSB houses students, faculty and staff in a single location for the first time in the history of the university.
In addition to the expanding scope of scientific research capabilities and advanced technologies the OCSB provides, the new building already is earning prestigious acclaim for its energy efficiency and environmental impact. The accolades include a recommendation for a GOLD rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design branch of the U.S. Green Building Council -- an honor that signifies that TAMUG’s goals and mission are predicated on environmentally sustainable performance, not only for the building but for all TAMUG research and teaching endeavors.
The next step for the next building will be the opening of a 5,000 square-foot Sea Life Center with 10,000 gallons of running sea water and providing holding tanks for live specimens and research.
WHR Architects of Houston designed the new science building, Vaughan Construction of Houston built it and Shah Smith & Associates Inc. provided the design engineering services.
Texas A&M University at Galveston is the maritime and marine-based branch campus of Texas A&M University. It is a special purpose institution offering academic programs, research and service in marine and maritime studies TAMUG is home to the Texas Maritime Academy, the only maritime academy located on the Gulf Coast. TAMUG students are known as “Sea Aggies” and like their College Station counter-parts, receive the Aggie Ring and a Texas A&M University diploma.