UMass Dartmouth ready to start $55 million School for Marine Science and Technology expansion

76,000 square foot facility will be built in collaboration with Division of Marine Fisheries to create a comprehensive marine science campus in historic New Bedford

SMAST II
The new $55 million building will create a comprehensive marine science campus in historic New Bedford, recognized as the nation's top fishing port.

UMass Dartmouth is ready to break ground on a new 76,000-square-foot facility for its School for Marine Science and Technology. Combined with the existing SMAST facility next door, and built in collaboration with the Division of Marine Fisheries, the new $55 million building will create a comprehensive marine science campus in historic New Bedford, which is recognized as the nation's top fishing port and a potential base for offshore wind energy development.

UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), is the largest marine science program in the UMass system. The expansion will bring faculty, students, and staff of the School and the state Division of Marine fisheries together to engage in education, research and policy related to commercial fishing, coastal preservation, ocean observation, and climate change.

Coastal and marine-related activities are critical to the economy and quality of life for the Commonwealth. The combined economic impact of the coastal and marine economies of Massachusetts has been estimated to exceed $130 billion and directly employs more than 1.3 million people.

"The work of our faculty, students, and alumni has helped the Commonwealth, from New Bedford to Gloucester, sustain its fishing industry, preserve our fragile seashore, and advance our understanding of climate change," UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said. "This new facility will accelerate and expand the impact of the science conducted at SMAST."

"As the nation's top fishing port, New Bedford is the right place for the Commonwealth's marine science campus," said state Senate Assistant Majority Leader Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford , who was instrumental in securing $30 million in state funding for the project. "This expansion of SMAST and the University's partnership with the Division of Marine Fisheries will add up to high quality research, education, and policy that will help sustain our coastal economy, from commercial fishing to tourism."

"This means jobs for New Bedford," state Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral said. "This is an important milestone for our city as we continue our work to make New Bedford a world leader in marine research and technology."

“The expansion of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) is a critical investment in an important program,” Congressman William Keating. “SMAST’s monumental role in the region is a direct indicator of the importance of promoting fisheries research, coastal preservation, and growing our understanding of the impacts and threats of climate change. Thousands of students, industry stakeholders, all levels of government, and our coastal economy will undoubtedly benefit from the institutional knowledge and scientific advancements enabled by this expansion.”

"My team has been a full partner in the planning and design of this facility from day one, so today 's announcement is very welcome news,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell . “We have especially appreciated the willingness of UMass Dartmouth and the other state agencies to be open to our input so that the funding for this project was prioritized and the designs were fine-tuned to improve integration with the surrounding neighborhood. The ground-breaking will be a cause for real celebration for all those that have been quietly but diligently advancing this project through the development process."

"The oceans play a key role in our coastal economy and way of life, and are undergoing dramatic changes related to climate and human activity," said School for Marine Science and Technology Dean Steven Lohrenz . "By bringing our faculty, students and staff together with our partners at the Division of Marine Fisheries, we better position the University, Commonwealth and region to understand and respond to these changes."


School for Marine Science and Technology