Tuesday, May 31 , 2016, 5:23 pm | Mostly Cloudy 61º

UCSB Christens New Ocean Science Building with NOAA Partner

New 15,000-square-foot facility will support multiple educational missions

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

Students check out a portable touch tank Tuesday during the dedication of the new Ocean Sciences Education Building at UCSB. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)


Dignitaries cut through a piece of kelp instead of a traditional ribbon Tuesday as the Ocean Sciences Education Building at UCSB was unveiled with promises to educate the community about the value of marine ecosystems.


After a lengthy construction process, the building is largely completed, and half of it will serve as offices for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Both NOAA and UCSB officials joined Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the 15,000-square-foot building at the corner of Lagoon and UCEN roads on UCSB's campus.

NOAA invested $8.1 million in a grant to the university toward the project's design, development, permits and construction. UCSB contributed the land, managed the construction project and is the owner of the building.

NOAA locates many of its facilities on college campuses to stay on the cutting edge of science and management, said Holly Bamford, NOAA’s assistant administrator for the National Ocean Service, who spoke Tuesday.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, was also on hand to offer support, and said that big challenges such as ocean acidification and climate change will  make the mission of the building even more important.



Standing in front of a two-story glass window that will eventually be turned into a kelp tank, Capps turned her attention to some of the event’s youngest attendants.

About 20 eighth-grade girls attending the Tech Trek Camp, which encourages girls to pursue careers in math and science, listened in on the ribbon-cutting remarks.

“I’m hoping some of them come back as students and researchers,” Capps said.

Education is at the heart of the building, and one half will house the Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science, or OCTOS, a joint project of UCSB’s Marine Science Institute and the sanctuary that will offer marine-science education and ocean-conservation programs.

They’ll be raising money over the next few years to complete the center, said Chris Mobley, the sanctuary’s superintendent.

UCSB's Gevirtz Graduate School of Education will also use OCTOS as a place to enhance training for science teachers — both those getting their certification at the university, as well as regional K-12 teachers.

The new facility will incorporate touch tanks; a mobile one was on site Tuesday, proving to be a big hit with the Tech Trek students.

The learning center will have the potential to serve 50,000 student visitors a year.

Planned for the space is a 30-seat digital theater, a virtual dive area where students can conduct research similar to what scientists are doing on the ocean floor now, as well as a wet lab and other areas.

NOAA officials say that although the building on UCSB’s campus will be their new headquarters, they’ll continue operating their small office at the Santa Barbara harbor where the NOAA research vessels Shearwater and Shark Cat are docked.

The agency also will continue to have a presence in Ventura County, with programs and exhibits at the Cal State Channel Islands Boating Center at Channel Islands harbor.


Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.