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UT-Marine Science Institute students receive new housing complex in Port Aransas

The housing complex that will support 34 students from undergraduate to post graduate, and even post-doctoral scholars.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony meant more than shoveling sand, as the students of the UT- Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas received a new housing complex.

"One great benefit of being here opposed to Austin, is we are so close to the coast," Said Emily Bristell, student and president of the graduate student association. "And the people who do Texas field work are just steps away from the ocean.”

Bristell is in her fourth year of the program and said more housing options takes one more pressure off students who want to focus on their studies.

"The rent in student housing is really affordable and it can be challenging to find long term rentals in Port A," Bristell said. "So this relieves a lot of stress for the students able to live in student housing."

The project has been in the works since Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc not only on their campus but their student housing as well. Project leaders said they were met with obstacles along the way, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It made a whole lot of things difficult, like construction, rising costs, and honestly we were in a pickle until Rep. Todd Hunter stepped up and secured the funding for us," said David Vanden Bout, Dean of natural sciences at UT Austin. "So we could complete all of the things we started."

Bout said its critical for young researchers to have places to stay so they can continue to do the vital work to understand and protect natural resources.

"A lot of projects affect not only the global oceans but also the things right here in Port Aransas, Texas," Bout said.

The housing complex that will support 34 students from undergraduate to post graduate, and even post-doctoral scholars. The complex is expected to take two years to complete. 

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