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Mote breaks ground on aquarium

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium officially broke ground for the new Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA) at Nathan Benderson Park. Federal, state, and local government officials, Mote Trustees and supporters, and other community partners came together to celebrate the occasion.

Mote SEA hopes to attract nearly 700,000 visitors per year, Three state-of-the-art STEM teaching labs will bring marine science to life for thousands of school children, offered at no cost to Sarasota and Manatee county school districts.

“We’re here at Nathan Benderson Park, and in no time at all it will be the site of our iconic landmark building, Mote SEA—Science Education Aquarium,” saidDr. Sam Seider, Mote Board of Trustees Chairman.

Mote’s President & CEO, Dr. Michael P. Crosby said, “Over the past 65 years, Mote has operated significant facilities on our campuses including in locations at some of the most iconic areas in Florida: Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key, City Island, the Florida Keys, and now right here at Nathan Benderson Park. Our focus has long been to locate our sites where our research and our science education infrastructure can have optimal impact.”

Elected officials also had the chance to share their support for Mote and the vision of Mote SEA:

U.S. Representative Greg Steube: “When we’ve had problems in estuaries, when snook died in Charlotte Harbor estuary, Mote was there to help. When we had the BP oil spill, Mote was there. When we need research for red tide, Mote’s there.”

Florida Senator Joe Gruters: “This is going to be an absolutely awesome project for our communities.”

Florida Representative James Buchanan: “It’s an absolute pleasure to be with you on this very special day as we see Mote SEA become a reality.”

a long time coming for today, but something like Mote SEA can’t be done in a day, but that’s how special and wonderful it is. We cannot do without Mote Marine Lab, and this is a great day for Manatee and Sarasota. I want to thank the Manatee County commissioners for supporting this project, and I am excited for the school children in Manatee and Sarasota, because we’re going to have Mote SEA.”

Sarasota County Commissioner Mike Moran: “We’re standing on the site of 261 future careers in a wide variety of specialties related to marine science that will attract talented people from all over the world. In addition, we’re standing on a site that will provide a pathway of future workforce development and higher education for the underserved and the underrepresented students in our region to gain advancement in research-based science. As we speak, Mote SEA will be an economic booster with immediate impact of benefits of $280 million in construction based economic impact. Upon opening it’s estimated that $28 million economic impact will be realized every year. It will transform our local economy for generations to come as it educates and trains 65,000 school-aged children in Sarasota and Manatee counties in STEM-related marine science fields, again, every year.”

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