PORT ARANSAS, Texas – Dozens of displaced University of Texas researchers, students and staff at the Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) in Austin will be spending the coming weeks at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Harte Research Institute to continue research and education can.
On Sunday, Texas A&M University Systems Chancellor John Sharp offered the Marine Science Institute temporary laboratory and office space on the Corpus Christi campus, led by President Kelly Quintanilla.
“Texans move in together in times of disaster,” said Quintanilla. “Chancellor John Sharp and I welcome students, faculties and staff to UT’s Marine Science Institute.”
In a statement on Sunday, Gregory L. Fenves, president of UT Austin, said he was “deeply grateful” for the offer.
“Our marine scientists and students study the structure, function, and health of the oceans and all life that depends on them,” said Robert Dickey, director of the Marine Science Institute. “As Texas copes with the devastating effects of this week’s storms and our institute works to recover, we greatly appreciate that the Texas A&M Harte Research Institute kindly gave our faculties and students room to continue their work. “
Hurricane Harvey caused significant damage to UTMSI’s main facilities in Port Aransas over the weekend. There have also been reports of damage to the visitor site at the Bay Education Center in Rockport. The marina as well as some scientist houses survived the storm with minimal observable damage.
News came this morning that the institute’s research pier had been destroyed. In addition, the latest addition to UTMSI’s main campus, the Estuarine Research Center, suffered significant roof and water intrusion damage. Other buildings – including the administration, the fisheries and mariculture laboratory, and some residential facilities on Beach Street for visitors to academics and students – suffered water and roof damage. Portions of the Amos Rehabilitation Keep, a local animal rehabilitation center, were damaged, but all resident seabirds and turtles survived and were safely released or transferred to the Texas Sealife Center in Corpus Christi. The UTMSI campus is temporarily closed as the university pushes reconstruction plans.