Fish research center clears funding hurdle

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Congress has approved the final chunk of money for a new federal fisheries research center planned near Juneau. A new funding bill includes $21.1 million for the $50 million center.

The bill was approved by the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday. It now goes to the president for his signature.

''Clearly if the conference mark survives and becomes an appropriation, it's the last bit of funding,'' said John Gorman, a program manager for the Alaska Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent agency of the fisheries service, hopes to begin construction next summer, Gorman said, with completion in 2004.

The 69,000-square-foot center will have room for 107 employees. It is expected to be part of a complex designed to include a new University of Alaska fisheries and ocean sciences building.

The university's Board of Regents last week made the project its top capital budget priority for new construction, asking the state for $18 million.

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