WWU, City of Poulsbo, Foundation Reach Agreement on Marine Science Center Building

Western Today staff

Western Washington University, the city of Poulsbo and the Poulsbo Marine Science Foundation have approved initial agreements that will allow Western to lease and then to assume ownership of the Poulsbo Marine Science Center building.

The agreements were announced at an event Tuesday attended by university, city and Poulsbo Marine Science Foundation officials. A new name for the center also was unveiled: the SEA Discovery Center. SEA indicates the marine orientation of the center and is an acronym for the center's three component services: science, education and aquarium.

“Western is proud to expand upon the fine work of the Poulsbo Marine Science Foundation, and to strengthen our partnerships with the city of Poulsbo, local school districts and tribal communities.  Collaborations like this benefit everyone, and we applaud the visionary work of Admiral Harlow. The center has been an important educational resource for the community and the region. Western students on the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas are given the opportunity to learn, teach, and do research in an exciting new environment,” said Western President Bruce Shepard. “We look forward to providing stewardship for this outstanding resource in collaboration with local partners, and continuing the conversation about how it can best serve the community.”

The city of Poulsbo leases the city-owned Marine Science Center building to the Poulsbo Marine Science Foundation (PMSF), a non-profit organization, so that the foundation can operate the center as an educational site for the community.

The Poulsbo Marine Science Center, located on the Liberty Bay waterfront in downtown Poulsbo, includes a tide pool touch tank, theater and aquariums as well as over 100 species of marine plants and animals found in Puget Sound. It offers a range of educational programs and events for the public and school groups.

According to the agreements, the Poulsbo Marine Science Foundation (PMSF) intends to end its lease at the center as of May 31, 2016, and the city intends to transfer title and ownership of the Marine Science Center building to Western, so that the university can offer educational programs that benefit the community.

The university initially will lease the building from the city, with the city intending to transfer title within the next year. The university also will continue a sublease with Sealaska Corp. for their continued use of the second and third floors of the building.

Western will build on the center’s community service and educational mission, by offering additional community-oriented programming. Western will take on employees and volunteers of the PMSF and, through the WWU Foundation, Western will receive as a gift all PMSF assets.

Earl Gibbons, Western vice provost for Extended Education, praised the work of the PMSF and its president, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Harlow.

"We are both proud and excited to carry-on the work started by Admiral Bruce Harlow, and everyone who has helped build the Poulsbo Marine Science Center into a first-class community educational facility,” Gibbons said.

Western Washington University, through partnerships with Olympic and Peninsula Colleges, offers flexible degree programs in business, education, environmental science and policy, human services, cybersecurity and multidisciplinary studies. Western on the Peninsulas offers an array of lifelong learning opportunities as well, including professional development courses, lecture series, and programs for youth in grades K-9.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 11:52am