The Marine Mammal Center to Break Ground for New Hospital Facility

Jim Oswald
New $18 million "green design" will help animal rehab center "look to the future" with upgraded pools and filtration system, solar panels and education center (SAUSALITO, Calif.-October 27, 2005) The Marine Mammal Center, a Sausalito-based, nonprofit rehabilitation and research hospital for seals, sea lions and other marine mammals, begins rebuilding its 30-year old facility this November. The Center's staff, local dignitaries, donors and volunteers will kick off the momentous, $18 million
more » ... ct with a news conference on November 10, at 11 a.m. on the hospital grounds in the Marin Headlands within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A 3D model of the new facility and site plans will be unveiled and The Center will announce the launch of the "Looking to the Future" community fundraising campaign to complete fundraising for the project. Media tours of the site and a barbecue celebration will follow the news conference. Throughout the construction project, The Center will remain in operation rescuing and treating marine mammals. Public access to the hospital will be restricted for safety concerns, but visitors will be able to see activities remotely through a soon-to-be installed webcam accessible on The Center's website. "This is a day we've all worked very hard towards making a reality for over six years," said B.J. Griffin, Executive Director of The Marine Mammal Center. "The new improved facility, will be nearly the same size, but will be markedly better for our animal patients, and it will improve our ability to educate the public about the importance of marine mammals and how their health relates to our own health. We are enormously gratified by the generosity of our lead donors who've helped get this project underway; now we are turning to the public to help us raise the remaining $3 million needed to complete this project." Fundraising began for the project five years ago and to date, $15 million has been raised, led by significant gifts from the late William Kimball, from the Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation and from the Marin Community Foundation. "As a community, we should all feel proud to have such a key institution in our midst," said Thomas Peters, President and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation. "We are so pleased to be a part of The Marine Mammal Center's new hospital to help them fulfill their mission to rescue and treat marine mammals and to educate people about these extraordinary animals that serve as sentinels for our environment. It's very exciting to see the center break ground for this important project." The new Marine Mammal Center will be built where the current facility is on 35,000 square feet of land, formerly a Nike missile site, in the Marin Headlands. The goal of the rebuild is to create a facility with new pools, pens and a water filtration system designed to improve the rehabilitation of specific species of animals such as seals and sea lions. The visitor experience will be enhanced to include an education center with indoor and outdoor classrooms as well as visitor amenities. Three main buildings, forming a complex around a central courtyard, will allow visitors to see many never-before-seen aspects of animal care, science and education. Construction of the new Marine Mammal Center is expected to be completed by the summer of 2007. A unique aspect of the project is its green design. Skylights built into the roofs of each building will allow for natural lighting and reduced energy costs. Special photovoltaic shade panels built over the animal pens will convert radiant energy into voltage to help power the main buildings on sunny days while shading animal patients. Highlights of the complex include:-more