NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University will hold a ceremony on Thursday, March 15, to launch the construction of its new Marine Studies Building at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, will begin at 3:30 p.m. near the construction site along Marine Science Boulevard, west of the Guin Library at Hatfield. The center is located just southeast of the Highway 101 bridge over Yaquina Bay.

Speakers at the ceremony include OSU President Ed Ray, Oregon Rep. David Gomberg of District 10, OSU Foundation Trustee Caron Ogg, and OSU marine science leaders Bob Cowen and Jack Barth.

The three-story, 73,000-square-foot facility will be a key component of Oregon State’s Marine Studies Initiative, the university’s commitment to advance its international leadership in marine studies.

In partnership with the university, the OSU Foundation has raised $56 million for the initiative, including $25 million in gifts and private grants for the construction project and $31 million for marine studies programming across the university. The building, which is also supported by $25 million in state bonds approved by the legislature in 2015, will enhance OSU’s efforts in marine science research and education, as well as outreach to industry and coastal communities.

The new $50 million-plus Marine Studies Building also will serve as one of the first “vertical evacuation” sites for tsunamis in the United States.

The facility will have a three-story academic and research core connected to a two-story wing that includes community space, an auditorium, an innovation laboratory and other facilities. A ramp will lead from ground level to the top of the auditorium, and from there to the roof of the three-story structure. The roof of the building will be at a height of 47 feet and is designed to serve as an evacuation site for as many as 900 people.

“This new building will not only meet our programming goals for the Marine Studies Initiative, coastal and oceanic research, and public outreach, but it will include added safety options for the Hatfield campus through its vertical evacuation,” said Cowen, director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Architects for the project are from Yost Grube Hall in Portland, with Andersen Construction as general contractor.

OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative is a 10-year program to foster innovative approaches to addressing key issues involving the coast, the ocean and ocean literacy. It builds on OSU’s deep history of nationally ranked programs in marine sciences and natural resources, faculty excellence, and “world-leading research and premier facilities,” said Jack Barth, executive director of the Marine Studies Initiative. In 2017, worldwide rankings by the Center for World University Rankings placed Oregon State second in forestry, third in oceanography and eighth in marine and freshwater biology.

“Major areas for academic development include opportunities to increase student success, such as access to internships and other hands-on experiential education, and interdisciplinary programs training students in the human dimensions of coastal and ocean issues,” Barth said. “We are excited to have the new building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center serve as a focal point for the Marine Studies Initiative in Newport.”

Construction will begin in April, according to OSU project manager Lori Fulton, and the building should be ready for occupancy in late 2019.

Hatfield Marine Science Center

About OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center: The center is a research and teaching facility located in Newport, Ore., on the Yaquina Bay estuary, about one mile from the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. It plays an integral role in programs of marine and estuarine research and instruction, as a laboratory serving resident scientists, as a base for far-ranging oceanographic studies and as a classroom for students.


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Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788,


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808,