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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI celebrates opening of second Coastal Institute building

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 7, 2001 -- The University of Rhode Island today officially celebrated the opening of the Coastal Institute building on the Kingston Campus, with a formal dedication ceremony, open house, and lectures by leading environmental thinkers.

The celebration brought together environmental scientists, alumni, and friends of the University to dedicate a building that will be the cornerstone of URI’s planned environmental neighborhood.

The new facility is the second of three buildings designed for scientific research and environmental problem solving and associated with URI’s Coastal Institute, a consortium of coastal researchers and practitioners studying coastal ecosystems and their watersheds. The first Coastal Institute building, located on the Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, opened in 1996. An aquaculture research facility is planned for the Bay Campus as well.

"This new building is yet another sign of the University’s commitment to leadership in marine and environmental research and education. Its labs and other facilities provide our students with even greater opportunities for hands-on learning and participation in addressing the area’s pressing environmental problems," said URI President Robert L. Carothers.

"With this building we are striving to create a multidisciplinary atmosphere to solve environmental problems in coastal ecosystems," said Peter August, director of the URI Coastal Institute.

Designed by Keyes Associates in a land/sea motif and built by Hodess Building of North Attleboro, the three-story, 50,000-square-foot structure is located on Greenhouse Road beside the Biological Sciences Center. It was funded by an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

August said the building has been in the works for five years and was championed by Thomas Weaver, former chairman of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, who died before it was completed. "This building wouldn’t be here without his efforts, because he played a major role in convincing the USDA to provide the funding to construct it." Former Senator Claiborne Pell also played a key role in securing funding. In honor of Weaver’s efforts, the building’s auditorium was named in his memory.

Primarily intended as a research facility, the building houses laboratories and offices for the Departments of Natural Resources Science and Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, as well as many of the URI Cooperative Extension programs. It also contains an environmental policy simulation lab, which will use interactive computer technologies to help people understand the consequences of various policy choices. (See separate release.)

Following the formal dedication and open house, an academic dedication was held featuring presentations by leaders in the fields of environmental economics and natural resource science. Speaking were Thomas Tietenberg, director of the Environmental Studies Center at Colby College and author of the leading textbook on environmental economics, and David Pimentel, professor of insect ecology at Cornell University and one of the first to use an interdisciplinary approach to study complex environmental problems.

For Information: Peter August 874-4794, Todd McLeish 874-7892

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