Now LSSU has an exciting and game-changing opportunity to leverage those strengths for growth. The Richard and Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education will be a flagship project for student and faculty recruitment. It will also lead the way for high-quality research centered on the state’s most treasured and irreplaceable resource: fresh water.
LSSU is responding to market needs in innovative and practical ways. LSSU has operated its fish hatchery at the east end of the Cloverland Electric Cooperative on the St. Mary’s River for more than 40 years. The property adjacent to the facility is actually a brownfield that the City of Sault Ste. Marie would love to see redeveloped. The Center for Freshwater Research will be an exciting addition to the community, and a significant strategic step for the University. It will be the model for other fields of study that emphasize real-world student education in high-demand fields.
The total budget for the Center for Freshwater Research is estimated at approximately $13.84 million. Fresh water is a priority for the State’s ongoing economic health, as well as for our quality of life. It is not surprising that this project struck a responsive chord in the highest levels of state government. In July of 2016, the State of Michigan approved a capital outlay appropriation of $8.85 million (75 percent of the project total). That appropriation is contingent upon private philanthropy making up the rest of the total. This means LSSU must have gift commitments for the remaining $4.99 million by September 30, 2019 in order to receive the State dollars.
As of January 2019, generous donors have committed approximately $3.2 million of the necessary supporting funds. This includes an extremely generous lead gift of $1 million by the Richard and Theresa Barch Foundation.
The planning processes are proceeding ahead of schedule. LSSU successfully completed the requisite Phase 400 and is working towards Phase 500 for state approval. Construction is scheduled to begin in Summer 2019, with the building opening in Summer 2020. Exciting developments in programming are happening every day, with recent approval of a Career Technical and Education program in natural resources, to be hosted at CFRE, which will engage high school students daily in hands-on learning in this discipline.
This project presents an unprecedented opportunity for the eastern Upper Peninsula to leverage public investments into advancing the local economy. It also builds a long-lasting foundation for future growth and research that can lead our state’s efforts to steward fresh water resources.
View the full brochure for the Center, or visit CFRE for more information. To explore giving opportunities or make a commitment to the CFRE campaign, contact the LSSU Foundation at (906)-635-2665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.