Ground was officially broken on May 14, and construction began in June on the 5,933-square-foot Saint Stephen’s Marine Science Center. The center, which is scheduled to be complete by late fall, includes a wet lab, one outdoor and two indoor classrooms. Primary funding for the $1.5-million project comes from a generous lead gift by the Moore family, with additional contributions from Ken Keating and the estate of Dr. Betty O’Dell. Camlin Homes and Carlson Studio Architecture are the architects on the project. My Green Buildings of Sarasota is the general contractor. The facility will be used by students in all grade levels to enhance the school’s already vibrant marine science initiative. Located directly on the McLewis Bayou with access to the Manatee River and the Gulf of Mexico, Saint Stephen’s offers One Ocean, a customized pre-kindergarten through grade 12 marine science curriculum. Through a partnership with Mote Marine Laboratories, young students at Saint Stephen’s experience field studies tailored to the One Ocean curriculum. Older students explore from the beaches to deep water habitats through hands-on research. Using a kayak fleet, as well as boats provided by Freedom Boat Club, students leave from a dock on the McLewis Bayou to explore nearby aquatic habitats and complete field studies that create a tangible appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the gulf waters.
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