Nova Southeastern University (NSU) opened its new $50 million Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research, the largest facility of its kind in the country, on Sept. 27 in Hollywood, Fla.
The Center qualified for Florida Power & Light Company’s specially discounted economic development rate for new or expanding businesses that meet certain minimum requirements in terms of jobs created and added energy usage, which will save tens of thousands of dollars on electric bills over four years.
At a price tag of $50 million, the Center has created 22 new academic jobs and 300 construction jobs, and it will employ 50 graduate students as well as preserving 22 existing academic jobs.
“Reefs across the world are under extreme threat from both global and local stressors. Research is urgently needed for improved understanding, management, and conservation. Our research is funded by grants and contracts, and conducted in a state-of-the-art facility right here in South Florida,” said NSU President George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D. “We are grateful for this discounted rate because savings in operational expenses translates into an increased ability to keep our tuition competitive for our students and conduct research activities that help benefit society.”
Protecting coral reefs also helps to protect the livelihoods of thousands of South Floridians. Florida is home to 84 percent of the nation’s reef ecosystems. These ecosystems contribute more than $6 billion annually to South Florida’s economy and contribute to a total of roughly 71,000 tourism, government, academic and research-related jobs, according to NSU.
“We are very pleased that our economic development rate was able to help support NSU’s efforts to grow their program and create jobs while also helping to protect the coral reefs that are crucial to the environment and Florida’s economy,” said Pam Rauch, FPL’s vice president of development and external affairs.