$5 million approved for Aquarium

The new Pacific Rim gallery will be a conversion of the current Coastal Waters gallery exhibit, and is the first project on the docket for the Oregon Coast Aquarium this fall. (Photo courtesy of the Oregon Coast Aquarium)

NEWPORT — The recently finalized Oregon state budget includes a promise of $5 million in lottery bonds for the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s capital campaign.

This approved contribution is half of what the governor had originally put forward in her budget, but Molly Dumas, the aquarium’s director of development, says the aquarium is thankful for the show of support they saw through this process.

“It’s the first time that we have gone to the state for funding and we are thrilled with the response from our legislators,” said Dumas. “It (had) support from both sides of the House and Senate, on the Democratic and Republican sides. We were just thrilled that there was so much support for this treasure that we have in this state.”

Money will come from lottery bonds with stipulations.

“It can only be used for the capital construction projects,” said Dumas. “So, the improvements that we’re making in the entryway, the children’s nature play area, the marine wildlife center and the galleries.”

Work is going to start with the Pacific Rim gallery tank in the fall of 2019, converting it from a cold to a warm water tank around the time the Aquarium kicks off the public portion of the campaign before beginning phase I and starting on the entryway.

“We already had over $6 million raised for this $18.2 million campaign, so this additional $5 million will bring us up to $11.2 million,” said Dumas.

More information on the campaign, as well as ways to contribute, can be found online at aquarium.org/campaign.

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