The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees approved a resolution today paving the way for the expansion of the UMass Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) in New Bedford.
The resolution allows UMass Dartmouth to accept 3 acres of property from the United States government. The U.S. Department of Education approved the transfer of the property on Nov. 29, contingent on the Board of Trustees resolution.
The property, located next to the existing SMAST property, was once the site of a Naval Reserve Training Center. UMass Dartmouth plans to construct a 55,000 square feet of new education and research space on the property, nearly doubling its current space.
"This is a major milestone in our effort to expand our signature marine science programs in the nation's number one fishing port,'' said Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. "This expansion will allow our faculty and students to continue playing a regional and global leadership role in sustaining our marine environment."
Dean Steven E. Lohrenz from SMAST said, "We very much appreciate the support of the Board of Trustees for this important step in the expansion of SMAST. This new facility and the renovation of the current SMAST building in the South End of New Bedford will greatly enhance the capabilities of our program. SMAST will be better equipped to continue the good work it has been doing, both locally and globally, and to expand into new and emerging areas of research and education in marine science. "
There are currently 17 faculty members and 71 graduate students at SMAST focused on fishery habitats, coastal environmental protection, ocean modeling, marine renewable energy and other fields critical to the economy and quality of life of Massachusetts. SMAST's goal is to grow the faculty to 27 and graduate student enrollment to 123 by 2020.