NOAA and University of California Sign Ground Lease for New Fisheries Science Center

Construction at UC San Diego’s Scripps campus site to start next year

July 8, 2009

Artist's rendering of new La Jolla building.

Artist's rendering of new La Jolla building.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA and the University of California have signed a 55 year ground lease clearing the way for construction next year of a new federal laboratory and office center at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in La Jolla. 

“This is a key step as we prepare for construction of a world-class research facility where hundreds of federal and university scientists will investigate the entire ecosystem of fish and marine mammals off the California coast and beyond,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The new laboratory facility continues our long-standing educational and science partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.”

Known as NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, the 120,000-square foot facility, when completed in late 2011, will house up to 300 staff members in laboratory, office and support space. Initial site work is scheduled to start in the fall of 2009, with construction on the new facility scheduled to start in spring of 2010.

“NOAA’s new facility will enable continued expansion of collaborative research among our scientists, and will foster interaction between Scripps Ph.D. students and NOAA experts,” said Tony Haymet, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

NOAA’s new research facility will replace the existing Southwest Fisheries Science Center, which was partially vacated in the summer of 2008 due to continued bluff erosion.

This facility will expand NOAA’s ability to develop and apply advanced technologies for surveys of fisheries resources and their associated ecosystems and to foster collaborations on fisheries management issues. The building also will house state-of-the-art laboratories for biotechnology, photogrammetry and life history, and necropsy; experimental aquaria; and extensive collections of California Current ichthyoplankton and tissue samples for marine mammal and marine turtle genetics.

The new SWFSC laboratory will be a focal point for surveys and assessments of Pacific trans-boundary species, the development and application of ecosystem-based approaches to management, research on the impacts of environmental variability and climate change on marine ecosystems, and fisheries and conservation socio-economics.

NOAA is pursuing certification of the building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. Based on the design work to date, the La Jolla Laboratory Consolidation Project recently received a top award from the American Institute of Architects, a rare honor for a project not yet built.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.