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Lab plans major expansion, including education center

OCEAN SPRINGS — The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is growing, with near-term plans to open an 8,300-square-foot, four-classroom and lab addition in May and long-term plans to erect an $18-million Marine Education Center.

The Mississippi Press reports the Marine Education Center is the education and outreach arm of the lab, and both are part of the University of Southern Mississippi.

Eric Powell, director of the GCRL, said they are looking forward to the classroom and field-based lab addition because it will replace space lost in 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

It will also be home to the lab’s summer field program.

Powell says the GCRL, which has a 200-person staff, is among the largest marine research labs in the country and supplies nationally recognized marine disease research.

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