BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — It's all bare earth now, but a big future is envisioned for the property along Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.
The Water Campus is expected to be a national and international hub for river, coastal and delta research.
On Wednesday, government and nonprofit officials gathered to mark the beginning of construction for the project.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/16XpUvJ ) the first of three buildings to start construction this year will be the LSU Center for River Studies, which will house a large-scale model of the lower Mississippi River. The model will allow researchers and students to test the river's workings and study the impact of modifications, like coastal restoration diversions.
A balcony walkway that will surround the second floor of the building will be lined with educational material aimed at middle school students, said John Davies, Baton Rouge Area Foundation president. The second floor will overlook the 90-by-120-foot model of the Mississippi River being used by researchers on the first floor.
The $16 million building and model will occupy about 50,000 square feet, much larger than the current scale model housed at LSU.
Money for the project is coming from Coastal Impact Assistance Program money with the building donated to LSU once complete. LSU will operate the model with additional funding from the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, according to a Governor's Office.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation's real estate entity, Commercial Properties Realty Trust, will be the developer of the Water Campus.
It's just the first step in a larger plan to develop a 33-acre Water Campus that will eventually include the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, The Water Institute of the Gulf nonprofit research group and plans for inclusion of engineering firms or other private enterprises with an interest in coastal restoration, river or water-related issues.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com
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