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Plans for geology building get bigger

By LENNIE BENNETT

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 9, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- The U.S. Geological Survey's plans to expand have expanded.

The agency on the western edge of the University of South Florida campus will add a third building. At 60,000 square feet, the new construction will be double the size announced a year ago.

The complex already includes the original, historic Studebaker building and a second one built to mirror the original. The third building also will resemble the original, said Lisa Robbins, director of the center, and will be sited on part of the parking lot.

The estimated cost is $6.5-million, but no construction schedule has been set "because the money is still in limbo," Robbins said. She expects the USGS to contribute about one-third of the cost, "and the rest will be amortized over a number of years."

A recent appropriation of $2-million in a Congressional spending bill "will cover the science going on in the building, not the new building itself," Robbins said, including the addition of 66 scientists and more support staff.

The expansion's impact, Robbins said, will be significant.

"With us, the university's marine science program and the Florida Marine Research Institute all here, it makes us a marine science consortium extraordinaire," she said. Robbins said the focus of the new programs will be "science as a system, integrating biology, geology, water resources, interdisciplinary science activities."

She said new programs will study Tampa Bay and other estuary systems, "the ground water influx, pollution and contaminants and how they affect the ecosystem, how growth and land use have affected the bay."

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