Opening Nears for NSU’s New $50M Research Facility

According to an official announcement made by Nova Southeastern University, its Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research—the largest coral research center in the country—will have its grand opening on September 27.

According to an official announcement made by Nova Southeastern University, its Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research—the largest coral research center in the country—will have its grand opening on September 27. As a multi-disciplinary facility, the 86,000-square-foot center will be generating information and research products to help understand, conserve and protect coral reef ecosystems.

In addition to having laboratories and sophisticated equipment, the center has been equipped with space for research collaboration, training and fieldwork staging, a marine science library and an 85-seat auditorium. The building’s design promotes research by current and new faculty, researchers, visiting scientists, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. Located in Hollywood, Fla., the facility’s development called for an investment of $50 million.

The Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research has created 22 new academic jobs and 300 construction jobs, and will employ 50 graduate students in addition to preserving 22 existing academic jobs. NSU received a $15 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce (using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) to build the center, while the university funded the rest of the project.

Florida is home to 84 percent of the nation’s reef ecosystems.  These contribute over $6 billion annually to South Florida’s economy and result in over 71,000 jobs such as restaurants, hotels, retail, cruise lines, dive shops, tour group operators, researchers, academia, public sector, etc. Small business owners such as Frank Gernert, owner of the popular Fort Lauderdale waterfront restaurant Coconuts, depend heavily on tourists who come to Florida for recreation on the reefs and, in turn, patronize his restaurant.

“Nova Southeastern University’s coral reef research center will help sustain and preserve the reefs, which will then help many small business owners like me to continue to survive,” Gernert said. “The coral reef industry is invaluable environmentally and economically.”

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