The Virginia Institute of Marine Science dedicated its two new research buildings—Andrews Hall and the Seawater Research Laboratory—in a ceremony that highlighted the many contributions made to VIMS and the College of William and Mary by the Hall’s namesakes, the late Senator Hunter B. Andrews and his wife Cynthia.
Andrews Hall is a state-of-the-art 4-story building that includes 39 laboratories, a distance-learning classroom, an electronics shop, conference rooms, and spaces for faculty, technicians, students, and visiting scientists. It currently houses programs to enhance aquaculture, better manage blue crabs, restore sea grass, track contaminants, control invasive species, model Chesapeake Bay dynamics, unravel food webs, understand climate change, explore alternative energy, and develop autonomous underwater vehicles, among many other programs.
The dedication speakers, many of whom were personal friends of the Andrews, gave heartfelt thanks for the couple’s dedication to marine science, VIMS, William and Mary, and the Commonwealth. Senator Andrews was among the Commonwealth’s most compelling advocates for higher education and marine research during 32 years in the Virginia Senate. Cynthia Andrews’ own passion for marine research made her a valuable member of the VIMS Council for many years.
The 45,000 square foot Seawater Research Laboratory, fed by an intake from the York River, provides 800 gallons per minute of treated seawater to support state-mandated research on finfish and shellfish. An “acre under roof,” it includes a multi-purpose space with numerous holding tanks, a disease-challenge facility, and a high bay for handling large oceanographic instruments. It also features biological safety laboratories that will allow VIMS scientists to study aquatic pathogens and waterborne pollutants, including their effects on animal and human health.
The two buildings were financed by a higher education bond passed by Virginia voters in 2002.
“Andrews Hall and the Seawater Lab have transformed our campus and modernized our lab capabilities,” says VIMS Dean and Director John Wells. “They are central to our mission of providing research, education, and advisory service in marine science to government, citizens, and industry in the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.”
Dedication speakers included Wells, Cynthia Andrews, W&M Rector Michael Powell, W&M President Taylor Reveley, Former Governor A. Linwood Holton, Representative Harvey Morgan (98th District), State Senator Thomas Norment, Jr. (3rd District), and Congressman Rob Wittman (1st District). Governor Tim Kaine and Senator Mark Warner sent official letters of greeting.
Kaine noted that “These buildings are far more than bricks and mortar. They are a manifestation of the Commonwealth’s resolve to renew and intensify its commitment to restoring the Bay and its marine resources.”
Warner wrote that “The addition of Andrews Hall and the Seawater Research Laboratory will allow VIMS to bring innovation to the stewardship of our marine resources and to continue to carry out it mission to provide marine research, education, and consultation to citizens, government, and businesses.”
Other noted guests included Virginia’s Attorney General William Mims, State Senator John Miller, Clerk of the Senate Susan Clark Schaar; officials from the VA Department of Planning and Budget, Gloucester County officials, the William and Mary Board of Visitors, the VIMS Council, and the VIMS Foundation Board.
Also in attendance were representatives from the buildings’ architects, Clark Nexsen Architecture and Engineering, and builders, W.M. Jordan Company; as well as representatives from corporate donors Dominion Resources, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Norfolk Dredging Company, and Prizm Ace.