New research building for Annis Water Resources Institute approved by board

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The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new field research building that will serve the needs of the university’s Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon.

The new facility will be located on the site of the existing field station building on the shores of Muskegon Lake, near the Lake Michigan Center, 740 W. Shoreline Drive, in Muskegon. The approval came Friday morning at the Board of Trustees meeting in Allendale.

The $3.4 million project will meet the immediate and long-term needs of the institute and will be paid for by a combination of an existing federal grant, private donations, and university capital development funds. 

Construction drawings are expected to be completed in June 2012, with construction starting in August 2012. The new building is expected to be finished by December 2013. The old field station building will be removed to make space for the new facility.

The new building will include state-of-the-art laboratories dedicated to studying the emerging issues facing Lake Michigan in the 21st century, a mesocosm (tanks) facility, boat loading bay, researcher and graduate student offices, secure storage, and will cover 14,800 gross square feet.

The building will be designed and built to meet stringent LEED certification standards by using materials and systems that will be selected for their durability, sustainability, energy efficiency, and their ability to decrease long-term maintenance and operations costs. Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr, and Huber, Inc. will serve as the project architect.

The Annis Water Resources Institute at the Lake Michigan Center on Muskegon Lake includes classrooms, conference areas, analytical labs, research labs, mesocosms, dock space, and ship support. AWRI promotes collaborative research and educational programming and offers research space and equipment to collaborative efforts. As part of the research mission, AWRI operates two research vessels, the D.J. Angus and the W.G. Jackson, and offers the Water Resources Outreach Education Program for K-12 schools and community groups.

DOWNLOADABLE AUDIO

* Al Steinman, director of the Annis Water Resources Institute, said the new research building is a move forward in transformational science to battle pressing problems in the Great Lakes, like invasive species and climate change (audio).

* Steinman said Great Lakes research conducted by AWRI is across the spectrum (audio).

* Steinman said AWRI researchers are also studying toxic blooms on the Great Lakes (audio).

* Steinman said the impact of having the new research facility is significant for West Michigan (audio).