UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) broke ground today on a $55 million, 76,000 square foot facility in collaboration with the state Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to create major marine science hub in New Bedford, the nation’s top fishing port.
UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) is the largest marine science program in the UMass system. The new facility will join a 35,000 SMAST facility on Clark’s Cove in New Bedford. The expansion will bring more than 150 faculty, students, and staff of SMAST and DMF 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. We are especially pleased to be collaborating in this venture with the Division of Marine Fisheries, which has been a valued partner to the community and university for many years. "
“SMAST is a world-class research institution that has produced significant dividends for our local residents and economy through the hard work of its many talented faculty, researchers and students. In particular, their fisheries research is crucial to assist our hardworking fishermen who have been devastated by onerous federal regulations and unfair mandates” said Senator Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, who recently negotiated the release of $30 million in state funding that he authored in Senate Capital Bond Bills. “I am proud to support this expansion by securing the state capital bonding funds required to get this project moving forward, and will continue to support the school’s mission of enhancing fisheries research, ocean and estuarine science, ocean technologies and renewable energy.”
"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 Division of Marine Fisheries has learned through our relationships and experiences with SMAST faculty, researchers, and students that their work is exemplary and a great supplement to DMF scientific and fishery management expertise and our own research, often including fishermen and their vessels,” Division of Marine Fisheries Director David Pierce said. “It continues to be a mutually beneficial partnership that now can be made even stronger by virtue of our being in the same facility providing more opportunities for interaction and exchange of ideas. With DMF staff serving as adjunct professors, including myself, graduate students get a far better appreciation of the fisheries science and management challenges they will face after graduation and employment perhaps, by DMF.”
“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 said. 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, and all levels of government 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. This 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."
“The School for Marine Science and Technology is designed to better equip UMass Dartmouth students and research faculty to become leaders in these respective fields,” said Patricia Filippone, Executive Director of the University of Massachusetts Building Authority. “In order to meet the construction demands facing the five campuses, the Building Authority is continuously striving to streamline the building and renovation processes from concept to completion, with strict guidelines for on-time, cost-effective and environmentally responsible practices. SMAST is no exception. We are excited to break ground on this one-of-a-kind project.”
In addition to breaking ground on SMAST today, UMass Dartmouth launched it Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Fall River, which will serve as a business incubator for 20 companies at a time on-site, and serve as a “virtual incubator” for start-ups throughout the region.