Tylan Schrock to head Alaska Sealife Center

Posted: Sunday, October 08, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Tylan Schrock, assistant city manager for Seward, has been appointed to head the beleaguered Alaska SeaLife Center.

The center's board of directors announced Saturday they chose Schrock on Friday to take over the $56 million center. Schrock has been a member of the center's board since 1997. He will begin his new job immediately.

''We are thrilled that Tylan will bring his business savvy, enthusiasm and team-building skills to work for us in a full-time capacity,'' said board chairwoman Sharon Anderson. ''Having him in this pivotal role will help us achieve long-term strategic goals for the center.''

Schrock takes over from Mark Lloyd, who told the board on Monday that he was resigning. Lloyd was the second director to leave the struggling center since it opened in May 1998.

Lloyd left a job as veterinarian and zoologist at the El Paso Zoo in Texas last October to fill the position at the SeaLife Center left vacant when Kim Sundberg left.

The center has hired professional facilitators to assist in establishing a strategic plan for the debt-heavy research center. The board was meeting this weekend in Girdwood to discuss the future of the center.

Willard Dunham, secretary of the board, said the 3-year-old master plan for the center is out of date. With winter approaching, now is the time to plan on major construction projects to fix the leaking bird tank, he said.

The center's three most popular displays were closed for a period earlier this year while workers tried to figure out where the giant tubs of seawater were leaking. Salt water from the tanks, holding from 90,000 to 165,000 gallons, has been leaking since before the center opened in May 1998.

The general contractor, Strand Hunt Construction Inc., sued the center's operator, the Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science, shortly after the center opened. That suit seeks millions of dollars in reimbursements for change orders. The center sued the contractor back, saying the work was inferior and incomplete.

The center so far hasn't attracted the crowds expected when it opened as a research center where visitors could watch the scientists doing their work. The center lost $2.7 million in 1999.

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