Western Washington University is revisioning operations of its SEA Discovery Center in Poulsbo due to impacts from COVID-19, during which time the facility will be closed.
This revisioning involves working with city and community partners to maintain the public aquarium and establish sustainable, high-quality educational programs. As part of the work, Western will engage key stakeholders in creating a re-opening plan that meets the needs of local communities and other institutional and regional marine science centers. The anticipated timeframe for this work is approximately 12 months, beginning Oct. 1. Facility maintenance and animal care will continue during this period.
This decision has been made after substantial deliberation. The revisioning is largely necessitated by the K-12 system being online for at least the rest of the calendar year, and the challenge of public operations through the fall and potentially beyond. The work during the closure period will ensure Western moves forward with a vision of a sustainable center that supports University and community goals.
Why is a revisioning of center operations needed?
The SEA Discovery Center services include a public aquarium and educational facility as well offices on the second floor. Due to COVID-19, the public aquarium has been closed for the past several months, and will remain so through the rest of the year. As school districts have moved to mostly online education in the Fall, there is less need for educational programming. This provides an opportunity to revision operations in partnership with the local city in order to maintain the public aquarium and establish sustainable, high-quality educational programs moving forward. Key maintenance upgrades can also take place during the closure.
How will this affect any employees or volunteers at the center?
Staff and volunteers will be maintained to ensure the care of the animals as appropriate. All other staff and volunteers will no longer be employed due to lack of work.
Will center education outreach to K-12 students continue online while the center is closed?
Recorded virtual education opportunities will remain available from the Summer series. Other Western resources such as Shannon Point Marine Center will continue to serve their research and outreach functions. New programming will not take place during this time.