Baton Rouge to welcome world-class water campus

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BATON ROUGE, LA, Dec. 17, 2013 -- Discussion of building a new world-class water campus in the city of Baton Rouge, La., is underway to provide a home for The Water Institute of the Gulf, an independent applied research organization focused on producing and providing unassailable scientific solutions to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) as it works to implement the state's $50-billion Coastal Protection and Restoration Plan.

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal, officials from the the CPRA, Department of Economic Development and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) joined leaders from the city of Baton Rouge, The Water Institute of the Gulf, Louisiana State University (LSU), and other coastal research institutes to unveil plans for the establishment of the campus. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has taken the leadership role in master planning the 30-acre premises to be built just south of the Mississippi River Bridge in downtown.

The initial phase will consist of the dedication of land, the construction of three facilities and an investment of over $50 million. It will provide an office for the CPRA to house its team of 165 administrators, scientists, technicians, and office support staff, with an approximate building cost of $9 million. Further, the project will provide a center for the Coastal Education & Research Facility/The Water Institute of The Gulf on the old City Dock to include public education exhibits on coastal processes, resources and challenges, as well as research and meeting facilities.The $20-million construction project will commence in second half of 2014 and be funded through public and private investment.

CPRA and LSU will also construct a River Modeling Center, a small scale physical model of the lower Mississippi River operated by the university, to study ground and water behavior. Research can be conducted on the morphology of rivers, lakes and coasts, as well as ground and subsurface strength with the effects of wave loads and currents. The center, similar to the one at Deltares in the Netherlands, will bring researchers and scientists from across the globe to study similar water-related issues from their regions. Construction of the 50,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2014. The model covers a domain that spans from Donaldsonville to the Gulf of Mexico (190 river miles) and will carry precisely selected and calibrated synthetic sand to simulate the bed load transport characteristics of the Mississippi River. It will be one of the largest, most dynamic models in the world.

The Foundation and Commercial Properties Realty trust will develop and manage the campus designed by Dover, Kohl and Associates. The area is programmed to house scientific, engineering, construction, and governmental agencies to create a vibrant experiential environment designed for developing process-based predictive models that link physical and ecological processes. When fully constructed, the urban, riverside campus anticipates well over 2,000 occupants and to inspire international collaboration with other global water campuses and universities.

The campus will be comprised of land purchased from East Baton Rouge Housing Authority, a 13-acre parcel donated from the state of Louisiana, and approximately 11 acres that include the old City Dock from the city of Baton Rouge. Another large parcel owned by engaged stakeholders such as Mike Wampold, a friend of the foundation, will be privately developed consistent with the Water Campus Master Plan. 

See also: "Water Institute Establishes Science Advisory Council."

About The Water Institute of the Gulf

The Water Institute of the Gulf is a not-for-profit, independent research institute dedicated to advancing the understanding of coastal, deltaic, river and water resource systems, both within the Gulf Coast and around the world. This mission supports the practical application of innovative science and engineering, providing solutions that benefit society. For more information, visit www.thewaterinstitute.org.

About The Baton Rouge Area Foundation

The Foundation is a community foundation with $608 million in assets. The Foundation connects philanthropists with nonprofits to make sure the needs of communities are met. After decades of providing the vision and the resources necessary to enhance the quality of life throughout south Louisiana, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014.   Recognized for its work as an innovative problem solver and visionary, the Foundation and its partners, both public and private, have achieved a long and impressive list of accomplishments in urban revitalization, education, research, the arts, regional transportation and infrastructure improvement. 

About Commercial Properties Realty Trust

CPRT is a real estate investment trust that manages and develops property holdings of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Because of this relationship with the community foundation, a portion of the profits are shared for improving the quality of life in areas where CPRT operates. CPRT manages shopping centers and mixed-use properties in North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas. For more, visit CPRT.com. For more about the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, visit BRAF.org.

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