Photos of Augsburg's new aquarium facility

Discussion in 'General Reef Discussion' started by capman, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. capman

    capman I contributed!
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    Well, sort of....

    This new science building thing is really becoming a reality...

    Here is a photo I took on Sept 2 when two floors had been built. Look at the concrete column that is second from the left, on the second floor. Our aquarium support/research room is going to be just to the left of that column, and our display tanks will be just to the right. You are looking right into our aquarium room here!

    [​IMG]


    And here is a photo I took this evening, showing just the one wing (of two wings) of the building. We are now up to 3 floors (there will be a partial fourth floor, which will include greenhouses and plant growing rooms, the greenhouse headhouse and some research space, and the ecology/plant biology lab.

    [​IMG]


    It is really surreal to see this building, which was just an abstraction for so long, actually becoming a reality. This is going to be a really nice building (and not just because of the marine aquarium facility).
     
    #1 capman, Sep 14, 2016
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  2. Gary

    Gary Started in '96
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    Did they tear down the old building or is this one being built somewhere else?
     
  3. cathorn

    cathorn Senior Member
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    Good luck with the new upcoming building. Keep us updated.
     
  4. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    We are still in the old building, and will be through Fall 2017. Then we will have to move - quickly - to be ready to teach in the new building starting January 2018 (and we start fairly early in January). We will have access to the new building in mid November 2017. Needless to say, there won't be much Christmas break that year with us needing to be moving and setting up labs, and getting ready to teach in the new space.

    It sounds like we will not necessarily need to be completely moved out of our current space immediately, so I don't think I'll have to rush to move our current systems. It will be awkward maintaining them in the old building though, and they won't be useful for teaching there, so I really should move them sooner rather than later once there is access to the new space.

    And needless to say, the new aquaria will not be fully up and running when classes start in January 2018. I do plan to be doing a lot of advance planning this next summer though (actually, I'm already doing a lot of planning). I'm going to even try to design the rockwork for the big tank next summer, and even build the PVC framework that will support the rock structure in advance (I have a method of aquascaping I worked out years ago involving PVC frameworks - sometime I should share the details here). And I need to get the bulk of my purchases of initial equipment figured out over the summer (there's so little time during the school year) so I can place these orders efficiently when the time comes that we need these things.

    The really big time consuming things once we move in will likely be the plumbing, but I might just do some quick and easy plumbing initially just to get the main display tanks running, and then take more time doing more sophisticated plumbing (e.g. that will hook in the research tanks, etc) later. Some construction of parts of this plumbing can probably be done next summer as well. Well, obviously, there will be lots of time consuming things (installing lights, dealing with everything inside the tanks, etc, etc).

    Anyway, this is going to be a gigantic project, but a very rewarding one. If this all comes off as planned, we will have something unique in the Twin Cities (and I don't imagine there are many colleges anywhere with anything like what we are planning).

    And I just learned that we have gotten a grant funded that will support this project for a few years, covering startup costs - this is a tremendous relief, as this will allow us to do things right for a change!

    __________________________________________________

    The site where the new building is being built formerly had some parking lots, and some older houses, several of which were being used by the college as office space. If I recall correctly, three houses got taken down, and two parking lots and a street have been eliminated. We also lost several rows of plots in our community garden that is on campus (but fortunately most of the community garden plots were saved).

    The old building will be around for at least a few years after the move, possibly used by other departments while their buildings undergo some renovation. The ultimate plan though is to tear it down (it is old, and has lots of problems), to eliminate the street that runs just to the west of it, and create a much larger quad area. This is really going to transform the look and feel of the campus.

    This is a profoundly big project for this college, and it is going to allow us to much more fully realize our potential in multiple ways. Our enrollments have been growing substantially (in the sciences in particular), and we are packed like sardines into our current old space. This new building is coming just in time!

    I can't tell you just how excited we all are about this building actually becoming a reality.
     
    #4 capman, Sep 14, 2016
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  5. clowning around

    clowning around I contributed!
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    It's great to hear the joy, happiness, and pride of this monstrous undertaking. Maybe our club could come together and help you out in some way. One idea would be to bag and transfer livestock and to help acclimate on the other end . In the meantime we could hijack this thread or start a new thread of ideas to help the biology department and capmam out. The idea of using the club to help someone else out might be appealing to a lot of people.
     
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  6. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    This is exciting; even for those of us not involved.
    I also had thoughts about somehow incorporating the club into assisting with this endeavor. Whether it's physical labor during the moves or making some of the projects into workshops for the club; i.e. plumbing, lighting, filtration, aquascaping, etc.
    And to reciprocate, don't be afraid to approach the club for advice or labor. I know that I would be willing to assist in any way that I could.

    Keep taking photos of all progress as this will be a very unique thread.
    I think I can already see the tell-tale blue lights!
     
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  7. Walter84

    Walter84 Junior Member
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    I would be more than willing to help out, I was actually think the club could do something to help also. Would be more than willing to help on a few weekends, whether you need me to review plans with you Bill or help bag up critters.
     
  8. AmyZ

    AmyZ Junior Member
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    I'm willing to help if you need it, just holler
     
  9. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    Thanks so much folks.

    There are so many cool features of what we have planned. I've probably mentioned some here on the forum already, but certainly not all of them.

    And this will be the first time ever with the aquaria in the lab when I will be able to really do things right, in a space designed for this purpose. I mean, we are even going to have all outlets in the room on a backup power system (that will also be keeping critical freezers in research labs running, etc.). And given the amount of space dedicated to this in the building design, I really have the support and involvement of the college (in particular the facilities folks) in a way that I have not had before. (Incidentally, our head of facilities happens to be StuckyT's father... so though he is not an aquarist himself, he understands what is involved, and even helped Troy build his big 300 gallon tank some years back).

    And as I said above, we are also very fortunate to now (as of two days ago) have the startup costs fully funded by a charitable foundation. I've never been in this situation before with the lab tanks (our first system was hobbled together initially close to 20 years ago using surplus funds from several years of our supply budget - it took several years to gather all the equipment together). At some point maybe I'll feel free to reveal the source, and I think it will be obvious at some point, because I think the name of the donor will be associated with our new facility. But for now lets just say that I am so very grateful for this support and vote of confidence on this project.

    So, we should be good for a few years in terms of funding. I'm still going to have to be careful with purchase decisions, to search for discounts when possible, and will need to be frugal when possible (if for no other reason that some of the cost estimates might turn out to have been too low - e.g. this might be the case for one of the tank stands). But I should not have to cut corners the same way as before. There might still be unexpected expenses, but the planning process has been really laboriously thorough.

    Our funding does not support ongoing expenses though, and once we start needing to replace equipment (say, after 3 or 4 years, as things start to wear out) we are going to be in a bind if we don't raise more funds.

    But first things first.
     
    #9 capman, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
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    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    And thanks for the offers to help.

    I'm not sure exactly what help I will need at this point, or exactly when, but there will certainly be times when some extra hands (especially knowledgeable TCMAS member hands) will be really useful.

    Actual setup of the new systems, and moving of livestock and such, won't be able to start happening until mid November 2017 at the earliest.

    Lots of planning and preparation will be happening sooner. This is already happening, but will likely move into high gear next summer.

    There are going to be lots of decisions to make about things ranging from overflow design, to pump choice, to skimmer and ATS decisions, etc. And also I'm already doing some advance planning in terms of livestock stocking choices.

    The most important help I'll need in the next 12 months or so will likely be good advice on a bunch of these different issues.

    ____________________

    When I set up my first reef systems in the lab I didn't know anyone else who kept reef systems, and it was a tough, steep, learning curve (I'd kept freshwater aquaria, and bred lots of fish, extensively, all my life, but most of what I initially thought I knew about reef aquaria back then was wrong!).

    I feel fortunate to have this community of folks with so much experience and expertise to tap into.

    I have certainly gotten much more out of my involvement with TCMAS (previously River South Reefkeepers) over the past 18 or so years than I have given to the group. Again, I feel very fortunate.
     
    #10 capman, Sep 14, 2016
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  11. kheebl

    kheebl Super Moderator
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    I have been there numerous times delivering the concrete. Going to be a very nice building once completed.
     
  12. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    Cool!
     
  13. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    Not that it makes any difference to anyone here, but I was wrong. The aquarium room is going to be just to the left of the second concrete column from the left in the first photo, and the display tanks will be just to the right of the column.

    You can see the columns in this diagram:

    [​IMG]

    And here, with the diagram flipped sideways, you can see more detail of the display tanks and support/research space setup:

    [​IMG]
     
    #13 capman, Sep 28, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  14. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    A number of us on faculty senate had a tour of the building today (wearing hard hats and dayglow colored vests), and I actually got to walk through the space where the aquaria will be, and we went up to the current top level of the building too. It was cool and exciting. I'll try to post photos in a day or so.
     
  15. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    OK, now some actual photos of the aquarium room.... I've been there!

    On Wednesday some of us on faculty senate had a tour of the new building (total accident that we are all guys here - the women on senate, and some of the other guys on senate had schedule conflicts I think).

    (Oops, I see one of us didn't zip up our safety vest properly like all the other kids did)

    The two guys on the right are two of the main guys in charge of the construction project. Cool guys, who seem to really enjoy what they do (one was talking about how much he enjoys the really big equipment!).

    The concrete we are standing on had just been poured that day, and was still warm (practically hot, actually) to the touch.

    [​IMG]



    NOW... what you've all been waiting for I'm sure..... me standing in our large display tank (well, sort of). I'm standing right where the big display tank will be. Behind me is where the aquarium support/research space will be. And that is our old (well, current) science building in the background.

    [​IMG]



    Standing in the future general biology lab, looking south toward the aquarium facility (which will be right in line with the second column from the end):

    [​IMG]



    Looking east. To the left of this column will be our display tanks and the general biology teaching lab, and to the right will be the support space. And to the right of that will be a skyway going across the street to the library, which is the building in the background:

    [​IMG]



    A bunch of guys standing around in the future, tiny little coffee shop that will be right to the west of of the aquarium room:

    [​IMG]


    Looking north. Standing in the future aquarium support/research room, right in front of where research tanks will be. The backs of the display tanks will be slightly to the left. Ahead beyond the aquaria will be a general biology teaching lab, then a lab prep space, then another teaching lab, and yet another teaching lab beyond that.

    [​IMG]


    Our old/current science building viewed from the fourth floor of the new building (the fourth floor will be a partial floor, that will have a plant/ecology lab, greenhouse, plant growth rooms, headhouse for greenhouse, plant research space, etc).

    [​IMG]


    A view of the fourth floor (no walls or roof up there yet) looking south. Greenhouses will be at the far end of this.

    [​IMG]
     
    #15 capman, Sep 30, 2016
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  16. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    I will add, that after years the college spent planning this building, fundraising, etc (and then really intense planning of all the fine details of the spaces in the building last year - a process that involved all the people in all the departments with labs and such in the building), it is hard to believe this is actually happening.

    In the words of someone in our department who was intensely involved in all aspects of the process, it is surreal to have what was an abstraction for so long actually becoming reality.

    (Incidentally, we are going to have some really nice classrooms in this building, and a really awesome classroom/auditorium type space. Put me down for hosting some more speaker events!)
     
    #16 capman, Sep 30, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  17. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    This must be such an exciting venture for you and the rest of the college.

    What I find amusing is that you titled this thread the "Augsburg's new aquarium facility" and ignored the rest of the department and amenities!
    The truth comes out.
     
  18. acharpenter

    acharpenter Senior Member
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    I love the look of joy on your face in the one pic lol

    What do they plan on doing with the old building

    and YES - I caught your offer to host another speaker event and I will totally take you up on that!!!!
     
  19. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    It is indeed exciting (not just for the aquarium room), even if I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task ahead.

    There are going to be so many good things about this new building. We are bursting at the seams in the department at the moment, in part due to increased enrollments. We will be moving just in time.

    The master plan for campus is to tear it down (it has issues, to say the least), and to connect the current quad with the area across the street to the west of the current building (to the south of the new building). The street will be gone too, and we'll end up with a big quad (which will include a good sized pond/rain garden for managing runoff water). This is going to transform the campus. This is probably a few years out past when we move to the new building, and the old building might have some temporary uses for a few years before it is torn down (there is talk of maybe renovating some other buildings, and current residents of those buildings would need somewhere to go while that's happening), but I really don't know for sure.




    We could certainly do another event in our current building if there was interest in having this happen prior to spring 2018 (our first semester in the new building). The new building will have some darn nice spaces though, as best as I can tell from the plans.
     
    #19 capman, Sep 30, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  20. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    Well, this IS an aquarium forum, after all.

    In the new building, we will have:

    - more teaching labs for all the science departments, that are better laid out, not as cramped, and better equipped

    - more teaching prep/support spaces

    - more dedicated research spaces

    - a greenhouse, headhouse, plant research space, and large plant growth rooms (for growing under lights)

    - more areas for students to gather, throughout the building, and in the vicinity of the labs and faculty offices, fostering more student collaboration, and fostering student-faculty interaction (we already have a LOT of student - faculty interaction, and collaboration among students, but things will be so much nicer for this in the new building.

    - more faculty offices (so, for example, adjunct faculty in a given department don't need to be stuck off in odd places away from everyone else)

    - faculty offices big enough to require moving your feet to be able to reach things, and big enough for students to meet with faculty without the student feeling claustrophobic

    - more classrooms of various sizes, that will be better equipped and better looking. One will be really big, I gather, and will be flexible use space that can be used as one big room, or divided into two, or divided into three spaces.

    - a nice big pleasant atrium, which will include more places for students and others to gather

    - and the psychology department will finally have decent dedicated lab spaces

    - and more

    - and yes, a bunch of saltwater...

    And, the interesting concept for this building is that in the second wing of the building (sharing the same atrium) will house the business and religion departments (if I recall correctly, psychology is over there too maybe, and maybe computer science - I forget precisely where everyone is). The idea is to have the building be a physical manifestation of interdisciplinarity, and a building that will foster more interactions and collaborations among seemingly disparate disciplines.
     
    #20 capman, Sep 30, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016

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