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County Commissioners report: Light agenda, but interesting

OSU Marine Sciences Center with a “rescue” component thrown in.

Lincoln County Commissioners Doug Hunt and Kaety Jacobson, without Commissioner Hall who was on assignment in Salem, had a short but interesting discussion on the finishing touches coming up on the Hatfield Marine Science Center expansion on campus.

There will soon be completed a new marine studies building equipped with a long up-ramp that’s easily usable if the area is hit with a tsunami – not if, but WHEN!. HMSC’S Bob Cowan laid it out that the campus is stepping up the pace, not only in the number of science and social science courses over the next decade but also to expand marine science investigations, more academic ingredients with more encompassing and compelling approaches to various marine science disciplines. There will also be new student housing up close to Oregon Coast Community College to accommodate the addition of up to 500 new students, largely in the marine science disciplines. A lot of long range construction will be complete this summer helping to round out the breadth and depth of various science and social science offerings.

Cowen and his right hand man Mark Farley will also be working closely with the Oregon Coast Aquarium accommodating future growth in visitors and enriching educational opportunities for all who love our seas – what swims and grows in them, along with a lot of geologic “movin’ and shakin'” down more than a few miles – that good ole “Cascadia Subduction Zone” inter-continent grinding machine.

Cowen also revealed that they’re planning to build what they referred to as an “Innovation Lab,” inviting students, staff, researchers and others to put their research and heads together on a rainbow of high tech applications to expand our understanding of our complicated oceans.

Cowen also mentioned that Hatfield Marine Science Center will likely be adding 30 to 40 new students a year to the mix. It will trigger a very real housing crunch – even bigger than the one we’ve had for the past 5 to 10 years. So HMSC will further expand it’s investigative and interdisciplinary talents.

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