The Marine Education Center (MEC) at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Cedar Point teaching site in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, serves as the education and outreach arm of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.
Situated on 100 acres, the new facility provides an immersion experience for participants in a unique, coastal setting. Included in the new facility are public exhibits, laboratories and meeting spaces, as well as outdoor learning experiences featuring trails, outdoor and floating classrooms, and a pedestrian suspension bridge. Through its broad array of programs, the MEC offers both students and the public an understanding of how the Gulf of Mexico affects daily life and provides a science-based understanding of ecosystem health. School groups in Coastal Science Camps, students seeking research experience, teachers pursuing professional development, and community volunteers and citizen-scientists will all benefit from the facility.
The MEC replaces the J. L. Scott Marine Education Center in Biloxi, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and is wind- and flood-resilient and energy-efficient, serving as an example of sustainable and effective coastal building techniques in harmony with its coastal environment.
This $16.1 million comp lex was constructed primarily with funding from a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, administered by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Outdoor trails were made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Nature Heritage Area; the outdoor kitchen was made possible by Blossman Gas. The MEC was designed by Lake Flato Architects and constructed by Starks Contracting Co., Inc.
Learn more at http://gcrl.usm.edu/mec/