- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) - Lake Superior State University officials say the school has received a half-million dollar gift to launch a campaign to expand and improve freshwater research.

The Sault Ste. Marie university said Wednesday the money from the Dick and Theresa Barch Foundation kicks off an $11.8 million project to turn the Aquatic Research Laboratory into the Center for Freshwater Research and Education.

Officials say the center that’s expected to be completed in 2021 is expected to include an improved hatchery facility and expanded research and classroom space. It also will include fish disease testing labs, visitors’ center and K-12 discovery area.

The center will be located in a hydroelectric plant on the St. Mary’s River donated in 2004. The school says it has outgrown current capacity and the center will triple space.

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