Whitney supporters, public officials and the University Florida Provost Dr. Joseph Glover joined the UF Whitney Laboratory faculty, students and staff on Dec. 8, 2018, at a ribbon cutting for the new Whitney Research Village. The Whitney is a research institute of the University of Florida established in 1974 on the shores of the intracoastal waterway on the border of St. Johns and Flagler counties.
The cluster of six sustainably built cottages will house visiting research scientists and students for advanced training courses and scientific and teaching conferences from the state and nation. The cottages each have four bedrooms and more than double the Whitney Laboratory’s housing on campus, by expanding it by 24 beds. Each cottage has a shared kitchen and living space for longer term researchers coming to do marine and molecular biology work as well as coastal and environmental research and will accommodate classes from the University of Florida and other regional universities for advanced training in the STEM fields. The Research Village was made possible by the Florida Legislature, which provided the initial funding, private donations and the University of Florida.
The project joins an overall expansion plan embarked upon by the Whitney’s Board of Trustees, staff and supporters to meet current demands for research training space and to prepare for Florida’s STEM professional future. Whitney’s plan is to maximize the east coast campus to meet training, housing and research demands and to build a new state-of-the-art marine and coastal research laboratory with an expanded Sea Turtle Hospital.
The UF Whitney Laboratory has already raised half of the funds needed for the new planned 25,000-square-foot laboratory building and sea turtle hospital, and the university is pursuing additional dollars with the goal of starting the project by 2020. The expanded hospital will better serve the region with conservation education and rehabilitation of sea turtles to meet growing impacts to sea turtles. The Whitney Lab’s programming has grown from 45 students, faculty and staff in 2012 to more than 65 currently with new faculty research teams joining in 2019.
The UF Whitney Laboratory is also the pilot site for a new bold initiative called iCoast: a 21st Century Coastal Monitoring Network for Action where the university will pilot a project that could serve as a model for collecting and joining key data across many sciences to allow for real-time management of threats to the natural and built environments of the coast. This pilot research project with the University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and other University of Florida researchers, will look to expand across the state after the initial pilot.
The Whitney Research Village was designed by Architects Marquis Latimer & Hallback, St. Augustine. The lead contractor was Scorpio of Gainesville, with local contracts led by Behst Builders of St. Augustine. The project is seeking Florida Green Building Council Certification.
See article about the Research Village Groundbreaking - www.staugustinesocial.com/construction-launches-uf-whitney-laboratory