Marine Education Center Groundbreaking

Another major Gulf Coast landmark and institution destroyed by Katrina was the old USM Marine Education Center but what it couldn’t destroy was the resolve or mission of those working there. Today, that courage paid off as the group broke ground on their new facility.
The construction of the new USM Marine Education Center is in full swing, a master rebuilding plan that began to unfold two years after Katrina destroyed the old center. Director of Marine Education Center Chris Snyder said, “Well, it’s just the culmination of about eight years of planning and struggling to get all the pieces together. We have a beautiful plan that’s all come together. We’re just really excited about moving forward in the future.”
What the future holds is a new, state of the art $17 million center located on the school’s 224 acre Cedar Point site. State and university officials were on hand to celebrate this landmark achievement and yet another sign of recovery here on the Coast. President of USM Dr. Rodney Bennett said, “It’s sort of the recovery of this Coast from Hurricane Katrina. You know the education center is one component of that, but it’s a rebirth.”
A rebirth that shows the coast is moving forward but not forgetting the past. “Certainly we want to remember the loved and lost,” said Governor Phil Bryant, “those 238 lives and the destruction. No one will ever forget that, but we’re on the offense now. We’re moving ahead. We’re restoring it forward and this is the perfect example of that restoration that’ll be taking place now and into the future.”
The area may not look like much today but when it’s finished, Snyder says it’ll be a time to look back to see just how far they’ve come. “It’s going to be a moment of pause and reflection back on everything it took to get us here and what the opportunities are for the future.”
University leaders expect the center to be complete by January 2017.

Categories: Local News, News

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