Scripps’ fisheries plan advances

A new lease that clears the way for construction of the new Fisheries Science Center at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been signed.

The 55-year ground lease is between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of California for the site of a new federal lab and office space. The 120,000-square-foot facility, due for completion in 2011, will house up to 330 staff members. Initial site work is set to start this fall.

“This is a key step as we prepare for construction of a world-class research facility where hundreds of federal and university scientist will investigate the entire ecosystem of fish and marine mammals off the California coast and beyond,” Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said in a news release.

The building will replace the existing Southwest Fisheries Center, which was partially vacated a year ago due to bluff erosion.