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June 29, 2018

Downeast Institute completing $6.6 million expansion

Courtesy / Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education
Courtesy / Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education
An architect's rendering shows what the new residence hall will look like when Downeast Institute's $6.6 million expansion is completed. An Aug. 11 ribbon-cutting celebration is planned.

The nonprofit Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Educationis weeks away from completion of a $6.6 million expansion.

The Ellsworth American reported that the nonprofit's expansion includes a modernized marine laboratory and 4,500-square-foot residence hall that can accommodate up to 20 students, interns and visiting scholars. Helped by a National Science Foundation grant, it converted an existing building to a shellfish production facility with a running seawater laboratory.

The nonprofit's mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of Downeast and coastal Maine through marine research, marine science education, and innovations in wild and cultured fisheries, it states on its website.

The Downeast Institute is located in Beals on Great Wass Island Preserve in Washington County. It is run by Dianne Tilton, executive director. The director of research is Brian Beal, a Jonesport native who was instrumental in establishing Maine's first lobster hatchery in the town of Cutler in 1986. He is also director of University of Maine Machias's Marine Field Station at Black Duck Cove.

The expansion was paid for with funding from the state and foundations.

On Aug. 11, the Downeast Institute will hold its 10th Annual Shellfish Field Day, a ribbon-cutting celebration for the new facility with tours available to the public.

A before-and-after view showing the footprint of Downeast Institute's $5.8 million expansion that includes lab space to meet a variety of industry needs, space for additional researchers, an expansion of its hatchery and a residence hall to increase its educational programming.

Photos courtesy / Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education

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