SSU Adds $20.5 Million Project to Boost Marine Science, Engineering Studies

Kim Wade

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Savannah State University, the oldest public historically black college or university in Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in Savannah, Ga., will soon have even more students flocking to the campus for marine sciences, engineering technology and chemistry with the addition of two new, state of the art buildings. The $20.5 million project received the green light by the Georgia state legislature during the 2015 session, and University System of Georgia officials, legislators, local representatives as well as SSU faculty, staff and students gathered on June 24 for the groundbreaking ceremonies.

According to Jonathan Lambright, Professor and Dean of The College of Sciences and Technology, the two new buildings will provide much needed space for growing programs.

“One building is dedicated to the marine science program,” Lambright said. “The Marine Science department has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree program. It attracts students nationally and internationally that want to study and perform research in the marine biological sciences. The building will be approximately 18,000 square feet. It will be comprised of teaching and research labs, graduate student space, faculty offices and a dock leading to deep water access where the department’s vessels will be docked.”

The location for the marine science building is at 2717 Livingston Ave. and the acreage on the site includes deep-water access which will allow marine sciences faculty and students to depart and return at any time with ship-based research and instruction not dictated by tidal schedules. 

“The marine science department--over the past 10 years--has grown substantially and is currently sharing space with other degree programs in five buildings across the campus,” he explained. “This new facility will allow the department faculty staff and students to be collocated in one building with state of the art teaching and research laboratory facilities and constant deep water access.”

The second building is located on the main campus and will be comprised of labs and faculty space.

“The additional building will house the civil engineering technology, electronics, engineering technology, chemistry and forensics degree programs,” Lambright said. “This building will be a 30,000 square foot, two-story building. This building will contain state of the art teaching and research labs for (these) degree programs. Each of the degree programs housed in this building has bachelor of science degree programs and the civil and electronics degree programs are ABET accredited.” 

Lambright and the rest of his team at SSU are hopeful that this investment will boost numbers and the quality of education offered to their students.  He also said that SSU has recently been approved to offer a new Master of Science in Mathematics degree program that will launch in the fall semester of 2017.

“It is hoped that with the addition of these new facilities, we can begin to investigate the opportunities of additional researched based graduate degree programs in the sciences. We already involve a substantial number of our undergraduate students in research. Providing them with additional graduate level degree options will help to enhance their academic training. 

“With these new facilities, we will have expanded our research resource capability and will potentially investigate what graduate programs will be beneficial for our students.”