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NOAA Director and UCSB Chancellor Break Ground on New Ocean Science Education Building

Future Home of Channel Islands Sanctuary Office and Outreach Center

January 11, 2010

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and the University of California, Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang broke ground today on the new 15,000-square foot Ocean Science Education Building on the east side of the UCSB campus. The project brings together the university’s Marine Science Institute and NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

The Ocean Science Education Building will consist of new Channel Islands sanctuary headquarter offices and the Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science, a state-of-the-art educational facility.

“Channel Islands and NOAA’s other national marine sanctuaries play a key role in educating the public about the importance of protecting and conserving the ocean,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This new building underscores our 30-year partnership with the University of California Santa Barbara and our mutual commitment to marine education and community outreach.”   

“We are thrilled that the dream of a new Ocean Science Education Building is becoming closer to a reality today,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “This is an exciting collaboration between the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, for housing its headquarters, and UC Santa Barbara, for housing our Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science.”

In the first phase of the project, construction of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Offices will provide 7,500-square feet of administrative office and meeting space to house 24 NOAA staff members who currently work at Santa Barbara Harbor. Construction, which is underway, is expected to be completed in 2011. The sanctuary also has offices at Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, Calif., which will remain open, and will also maintain a presence in the Santa Barbara Harbor offices.

Construction of the project’s second phase, the 7,500-square foot ocean outreach center, will be made possible with private funds being raised by the university and/or sponsorships. The center will be an education facility supported by the sanctuary and UC Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute, engaging users in compelling, hands-on, standards-based programming on ocean science topics. It will provide interactive educational activities including live aquaria, wet lab, and immersive theater.

Designed by San Francisco-based EHDD Architecture, the Ocean Science Education Building will be built to the Gold Certification standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and meets precise requirements of sustainable design elements and practices. It will be built adjacent to the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara.

A group of elephant seals sleep in the sun around a sand dune on Active Point, San Miguel Island, of the Channel Islands.

A group of elephant seals sleep in the sun around a sand dune on Active Point, San Miguel Island, of the Channel Islands.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary)

UC Santa Barbara is a leading center for teaching and research, distinguished by its interdisciplinary programs and a commitment to innovation. The campus’s Marine Science Institute ranks internationally as a leader in ocean and environmental research. Established in 1969 on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands, it provides a rich and unparalleled setting for interdisciplinary ocean research, innovative solutions to ocean challenges, and immersive educational experiences. UCSB’s largest research unit, the Institute administers and supports research projects involving faculty members, researchers, technical staff, and students from 14 academic disciplines.

Managed by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1980 to protect marine resources surrounding San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands. The sanctuary spans approximately 1,470 square miles, extending from island shorelines to six miles offshore, and encompasses a rich diversity of marine life, habitats and historical and cultural resources.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.