OSU's new marine studies building could shelter hundreds during a tsunami

The $61 million building should be done by June 2020.

Posted: Nov 15, 2019 6:17 PM

NEWPORT, Ore. -- Oregon State University's new marine studies building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport is taking shape, and this building could save your life

A rooftop evacuation site on top of the building is what sets this piece of architecture apart. Bob Cowen, the director of the HMSC, said the evacuation site is equipped to refuge over 900 people for days in the case of a tsunami.

"We have food, water, emergency, medical," he said. "We're going to have some tents, sanitation, to hold people here for two to three days."

It is one of three evacuation sites in Newport, and it's equipped to handle over double the amount of people who would be expected to use it.

It is also totally accessible.

"There are always going to be some people that are mobility challenged or injured (who) might not be able to make it up that ramp," said Cowen. "We've actually built an elevator that is reinforced to the point that it could endure a 9.0 earthquake."

The science center is a large campus for OSU professors, graduate students and undergrads working alongside other agencies to study the ocean and its ecology.

When the 72,000-square-foot building opens in June, it'll be home to research staff, students and the coastal community.

The $61 million building should be completed by June 2020.

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