On March 28, 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Florida Integrated Science Center office in St. Petersburg (FISC-St. Pete) hosted a dedication ceremony for the newest addition to the C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex, the "Phase III" building. Nearly 200 guests, including local dignitaries and business leaders as well as representatives from local, State, and Federal agencies, attended the event. Jack Kindinger, Associate Center Director, FISC-St. Pete, and his staff welcomed attendees to the dedication and open house. Guest speakers were Congressman C.W. Bill Young; Robert Doyle, USGS Deputy Director; Lisa Robbins, USGS oceanographer; Judy Genshaft, President, University of South Florida; Peter Betzer, President and CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership; and Martin Normile, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. The USGS honored Congressman Young by dedicating the "Phase III" building to him nearly 20 years to the day after the first USGS offices were located in a doctor's office in downtown St. Petersburg.
The new building, the third within the USGS campus, encompasses an area of 11,400 ft2 and features six state-of-the-art laboratories, a dive locker, and 12 offices. It's the latest addition to the C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex, which includes the University of South Florida (USF)'s College of Marine Science and its Center for Ocean Technology, the USGS FISC-St. Pete, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the Southwest Regional Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Marine Fisheries Service, Florida Sea Grant, Eckerd College, and the State of Florida Institute of Oceanography.
Located along the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, the Marine Science Complex is unique because it includes multiagency and multidisciplinary teams of scientists working together, reaching across their scientific fields, and combining their areas of expertise to focus on issues impacting Florida, the Nation, and the world.
"The overwhelming support of the USGS by so many people, especially the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, the USF College of Marine Science, and Congressman Young, has made this vision and today's ceremony possible," said Barry Rosen, FISC Director. "This firm commitment, shared by local and national partners, has created a world-class marine-science research community in St. Petersburg."
The ceremony began with McCarron Best singing the National Anthem. Associate Center Director Jack Kindinger then welcomed the attendees and introduced the speakers. Lisa Robbins spoke of the history of the newest building and how the state-of-the-art equipment within it is used daily to advance scientific research at the center. Judy Genshaft spoke of how collaborative efforts between USF and USGS over the years continue to benefit both organizations. Genshaft highlighted the collaborative spirit by having several of the guest speakers use arm gestures to spell out the initials of the Congressman's name (CWY). Peter Betzer and Martin Normile, both instrumental in developing the initial vision for the Marine Science Complex, emphasized the value of community partnerships and the great strides the joint complex has made over the years in furthering scientific research. Congressman Young recognized the important work being done at the center and its relevance to issues that affect the Nation and the world.
After the speeches, Jack Kindinger unveiled the commemorative plaque that recognizes the newest building as "Phase III." With the new building officially dedicated, USGS staff led tours of the facility for the attendees.
Before and after the dedication, guests were invited to tour the new laboratories and visit the Normile Conference Room to view scientific displays and talk with scientists about current research projects. Research displays included "The Florida Shelf Mapping Project," presented by Lisa Robbins; "FISC Coral Reef Research," presented by Ilsa Kuffner; "Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Winter Storms," presented by Karen Morgan; "Natural Climate Variability in the Gulf of Mexico: Implications for the Future," presented by Lisa Osterman and Kathy Tedesco; "The South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) in Support of Priority Ecosystem Science & Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN)," presented by Heather Henkel; "Marsh to Mangrove Wetland Conversion in Tampa Bay, Florida," presented by Ellen Raabe; and "Integrated Remote Sensing Applications for the Ecosystem-Based Management of Coastal Parks, Sanctuaries, and Preserves" and "Definition of High-Resolution Northern Gulf Coast Geomorphology using Aircraft LIDAR," presented by Amar Nayegandhi. Additional scientific information shared through interactive poster sessions before and after the dedication was of great interest to those who attended the events.
The dedication coincided with the 20th anniversary of the USGS in St. Petersburg. In March 1988, after a highly competitive process involving 24 universities, it was announced that the USGS had selected St. Petersburg as the home for a new national research center which would house scientists in the recently created National Coastal Geology Program. Research topics would include coastal erosion, marine pollution, coral reefs, and marine hard-mineral resources. At the June 1989 dedication of the first building, the original historical Studebaker Building, then-USGS Director Dallas Peck commented, "We are looking forward to the partnership with USF and others in the Florida community that will make the Center for Coastal Geology a world-class focus for understanding and solving some of the critical problems facing the Nation's coastal resources."
After 20 years, this vision of partnership and community involvement continues to grow. By the time the March 2008 dedication was over, staff and visitors were more aware of the far-reaching value of scientific research and the powerful role that community partnerships have had in creating unique opportunities within the C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex and the surrounding community.
Special thanks are extended to Janice Subino, who photographed the event. The FISC Web site contains a link to an article about the building dedication.
in this issue:
St. Petersburg Office Dedicates New Building