The curtains were recently pulled aside during the School for Marine Science and Technology's (SMAST) sneak preview of the visuals for the expansion of the new SMAST campus scheduled to open fall of 2017. Several members of the New Bedford and UMass Dartmouth communities, as well as SMAST faculty, students, and staff observed as exterior and interior renderings of the 76,000-square-foot building were unveiled.
The new campus will consolidate the marine science activities of the university into a comprehensive facility comprised of approximately 150 students, faculty, and staff currently located across two campuses – one in New Bedford and one in Fairhaven. “It is a challenge when you have people on different campuses. This new building will provide the opportunity to bring people from all of our locations closer together and foster cross interaction,” said SMAST Dean Steven Lohrenz.
The three-tier building, which is a collaboration with the state Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF), will be situated in close proximity to the 35,000-square foot facility campus on Clark’s Cove. The building will encompass offices and areas for faculty, technical staff, and students, and will be configured to handle different size classes, conferences, and other events. Additionally, the lobby area will feature dynamic and electronic storytelling content of the research being produced by scientists at SMAST and DMF.
The destination space for marine science also will include wet labs, dry labs, a computational facility, classroom space, break rooms, high-based storage labs for large equipment, and a seawater research facility. The seawater lab will be built with advanced features to ensure regulated temperatures, which will enable SMAST scientists to conduct experiments across all seasons.
“One of the features of the labs is that they are configured with flexibility to accommodate faculty members’ research needs,” said Lohrenz. “The designs allow for more tanks and the ability to conduct multiple experiments simultaneously as well as larger tanks to accommodate certain species.”
The building, designed by Ellenzweig, will prominently feature glass-based designs to allow light to flow through the entire building. “Even the labs themselves will have glass walls, so the idea is to allow visitors to view the research being produced at SMAST,” said Lohrenz.
The planning phases of the new building involved engaging members of the neighborhood as well as the New Bedford community. “During the design phases, we received a lot of feedback, and we tweaked the architectural designs based on discussions with researchers and people in the neighborhood,” said Michael Hayes, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Campus Master Planning / Capital Projects. “We really want to show people what’s going on with SMAST and what the scientists are producing. This design puts the scientific work being conducted by faculty on display.”
“If you want to attract talent, and retain talent, you have to have a facility like SMAST to retain scientists and allow them to produce research,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman. “Recruiting top talent is competitive, and we want to make sure we have facilities to support our researchers, our students, and the students who are coming here.”