Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research

Press Release and News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2012

America’s Largest Coral Reef Center Wins Top Florida Design Award

Media Kit with videos and photos: http://www.nova.edu/ocean/excellence/index.html

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Nova Southeastern University’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research recently won the Best Overall Project Award given by the Design-Build Institute of America’s (DBIA) Florida region.

The 87,000-square foot, $50 million Center was chosen among other elite competitors such as LEGOLAND Florida.
The award was presented to NSU and its design/builder (Moss and Miller, LLC), and their design/build team which included (Cannon Design, Acai Associates and Bliss & Nyitray, Inc.) during the 7th Annual Conference of the DBIA’s Florida Region on Sept. 13 and 14 in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla.

“This prestigious award from DBIA validates our commitment to building facilities at the university that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also environmentally friendly,” said NSU President George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D. “Because of its energy efficient design, Florida Power & Light has given NSU a discount on the building’s electric bill. We are proud of the research Center’s magnificent design features as well as the scientists and students who are making new discoveries to ensure our environmental sustainability of coral reefs.”

Winning this prestigious award automatically qualifies the Center of Excellence to compete for the national Best Overall Award at the 2013 national DBIA conference. In addition to winning the Best Overall Project Award in the Florida region, the Center also won the Best Overall Project Award in the region’s education category.

“To be recognized as the best of the best by the DBIA only reinforces how well this design build team worked together to produce the finest research facility of its kind for NSU,” said Brett Atkinson, senior vice president of Moss & Associates. “We are very proud of our accomplishments, but more importantly we look forward to the significant research that will be conducted by NSU scientists in this facility.”

The Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research is located at NSU’s Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park. A grand opening will be held on Sept. 27.

Rising above the park, the 5-story concrete structure with sleek curtain wall glass sits near the entrance to Port Everglades and takes its design inspiration from the ocean. It offers commanding views of the port, downtown Ft. Lauderdale and the Atlantic Ocean, and its coral reefs.

Incorporating many energy efficient and sustainable features, the Center is anticipated to be awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Center has created 22 new academic jobs and 300 construction jobs; and it will employ 50 graduate students as well as 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.

In addition to having laboratories and sophisticated scientific equipment, the Center has space for research collaboration, training, scuba areas, 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 and undergraduate students.

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About The Design-Build Institute of America: DBIA is an association of leaders in the design and construction industry utilizing design-build and integrated project delivery methods to achieve high performance projects. Founded in 1993, and headquartered in Washington, D.C., DBIA proudly stands as the only membership organization bringing together thousands of organizations and individuals representing architects, engineers, public and private owners, general and specialty contractors, manufacturer and suppliers, students, college and university faculty, legal and finance professionals and many more.  In summary, DBIA is the design and construction industry’s hub -- the only organization that makes whole the industry’s many parts. http://www.dbia.org/

About Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center: A world leader in marine biological research with focus on coral reef science and shark conservation, Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center has been at the forefront of graduate and undergraduate marine science education and oceanographic research for over 48 years. Students, scientists, faculty and staff come to the Center from all corners of the globe, with the common goal of learning from the ocean’s living classrooms — in one of the most diverse ecosystems known to man. http://www.nova.edu/ocean/

About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 300 beautiful acres in Davie, Florida, Nova Southeastern University is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels.  NSU is the eighth largest not-for-profit independent institution nationally with more than 28,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification.  www.nova.edu

Media contact:
Ken Ma
NSU Office of Public Affairs
954-262-5408 work
954-621-7961 cell
Ken.Ma@nova.edu

Julie Spechler
NSU Office of Public Affairs
954-262-5348 work
954-591-3361 cell
julies@nova.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2012

Former Vice President Al Gore Speaks at America’s Largest Coral Reef Research Center
Grand Opening on Sept. 27
The $50-million Nova Southeastern University facility will provide significant environmental research and boost South Florida’s $6 billion coral reef industry that sustains 71,000 jobs. Center built with federal package stimulus dollars.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Former Vice President Al Gore spoke at the Sept. 27 grand opening of Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) $50 million coral reef research center.

Vice President Gore, the environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, toured the scientific laboratories of NSU’s 86,000-square-foot Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research. The facility is located at NSU’s Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park. U.S. Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston), who helped NSU secure a $15 million federal grant to fund the center, as well as other federal dignitaries, also spoke at the grand opening ceremony. Wasserman Schultz was the keynote speaker.

The Center is focused on researching coral reef ecosystems in South Florida, throughout the nation, and around the world. The study of coral reef ecosystems is vital to the protection of our oceans. The Center has created 22 new academic jobs and 300 construction jobs; and it will employ 50 graduate students as well as 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.

“By opening this state-of-the-art facility, NSU is taking a leadership role in Florida’s marine science research and helping boost an important multibillion-dollar coral reef industry that employs thousands of South Floridians and sustains many small businesses,” said NSU President George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., who went diving on the morning of the grand opening to visit NSU’s offshore coral reef nurseries. “The research Center is critical for the environmental sustainability of coral reefs, which are the life blood of our region and oceans, and their ecosystems.”

The grant was one of 12 given by the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology as a result of a nationwide competition.  NSU was one of two institutions to receive the largest amount awarded at $15 million.  Other grantees included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Center, Columbia University, Purdue, Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Georgetown University, and University of Maryland, putting NSU in elite company. The new Center will be the largest and only research facility in the nation solely dedicated to coral reef ecosystems research.

Receiving the largest research grant in NSU’s history to build this Center is recognition of the tremendous value of coral reefs to the United States and the considerable threats and stressors now impinging upon them, said Richard E. Dodge, Ph.D., dean of NSU’s Oceanographic Center and executive director of NSU’s National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI). The Center aims to develop solid research products and information that will lead to better management and conservation solutions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) considers NCRI as an important partner. In turn, NCRI has long supported NOAA’s mission by providing outstanding scientific research to support federal, state and local resource managers in addressing local solutions to global oceanographic crises. 

“NSU’s new Center of Excellence fits perfectly within NOAA’s mission and provides both urgently needed physical facilities and expanded scientific capacity regionally, nationally and globally,” Dodge said. 

Research at the Center allows for greater understanding of how reefs respond to threats. Eliminating or mitigating local threats to coral reefs is part of that solution.   Some of these are easy fixes that include stopping overfishing, controlling pollution, and establishing marine protected areas.

As a multi-disciplinary facility, the Center generates information and research products to help understand, conserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Its coral reef research aims to:

  • Assess the health of coral reefs and their ability to recover from injury and damage;     
  • Examine effects of climate change on reefs;
  • Cultivate species of corals in nurseries for re-introduction to the ocean;
  • Map the extent and nature of coral reefs throughout the world;
  • Study coral growth rings to reconstruct the history of reefs and environmental conditions;
  • Investigate the flow of water in and around reefs;
  • Reveal molecular biology of reef animals to understand connectivity; and
  • Determine the effects of pollution, including oil that may impinge on reefs.

In addition to having laboratories and sophisticated equipment, the Center has 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.

The Center of Excellence houses NSU’s National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI), the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) and Save Our Seas Shark Center. Artwork by renowned marine artist Guy Harvey, Ph.D., who also donated $200,000 to GHRI, is prominently featured in the building’s interior.

The Center’s location in Hollywood is important because 84 percent of the nation’s reefs are located in Florida. Local South Florida businesses like dive shops, restaurants, hotels, gift shops, boat tours, cruises, and big and small business owners depend on those reefs for their livelihoods.

Small business owner Frank Gernert, the 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.”

For more information, please visit: http://www.nova.edu/ocean/excellence/index.html

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About Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center: A world leader in marine biological research with focus on coral reef science and shark conservation, Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center has been at the forefront of graduate and undergraduate marine science education and oceanographic research for over 48 years. Students, scientists, faculty and staff come to the Center from all corners of the globe, with the common goal of learning from the ocean’s living classrooms — in one of the most diverse ecosystems known to man. http://www.nova.edu/ocean/

About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 300 beautiful acres in Davie, Florida, Nova Southeastern University is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels.  NSU is the eighth largest not-for-profit independent institution nationally with more than 28,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification.  www.nova.edu

Media contact:
Ken Ma
NSU Office of Public Affairs
954-262-5408 work
954-621-7961 cell
Ken.Ma@nova.edu