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Part of DEI's three-pronged mission is to develop and deliver marine educational programs for K-12 schools and the general public to foster hands-on learning about our local marine environment and marine resources.

In 2009, the University of Maine at Machias received a 3-yr grant from the National Science Foundation through its Partnerships for Innovation Program (PFI) (  A portion of those grant funds were used to build and partially equip a marine education center at DEI's Black Duck Cove property.  In addition, DEI was able to use funds from a grant it received in 2008 from the Maine Technology Institute ( to help with the education center project.

DEI's board hired Sealander Architects of Ellsworth, Maine ( in December 2009, and immediately began to develop plans for the education center.

We wanted a state-of-the-art facility that was energy efficient and would serve as many as 35 people.  In addition, we wanted running seawater for in-class projects and experimentation, and room enough for microscopes, laptop computers, PC projectors, and white boards. 

The plan was finalized in May 2010 and Pizzagalli Construction Company of Portland ( was hired as the on-site contractor.  The education center was built with future expansion plans in mind for a marine research laboratory and office space.

The schematic below shows how the education center was originally conceived with respect to the shellfish production center and the pier.

This is what DEI will look like in the future when a marine resesarch laboratory, visitor and conference center, and office spaces are added to the shellfish research and production facility and education center.

The photos below give a brief history of construction of the Marine Education Center from groundbreaking on June 25, 2010 to the ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 4, 2010.

Hanscom's Construction (Marshfield, Maine) was hired to do the ground work and install a new septic system that will serve the needs of the education center and all future additions/renovations.  Photo taken on Day 1 (June 25, 2010).


The forms were installed and the first concrete poured on Day 5 (July 1, 2010).


The base layer and external insulation are completed (Day 17 - July 13, 2010).


PVC pipes are laid down for the new men's and women's bathrooms, as well as for drainage of flowing seawater in the education center (Day 20 - July 16, 2010).


By Day 23 (July 19, 2010), the floor had been poured and efforts made to keep the concrete from drying too quickly.


Sheets of clear plastic are placed over the recently poured concrete to ensure proper setting (Day 24 - July 20, 2010).


The cinder block walls are installed beginning Day 31 (July 27, 2010)


The blocks are finished and the men are getting ready to lay the ceiling beams (Day 37 - August 2, 2010).  No large "picture windows" are part of the Education Center because in Phase II construction, the door to the Center will open into a hallway that leads to a wet lab and office space.


Ceiling beams are in place (Day 38 - August 3, 2010).


By Day 45 (August 10, 2010), the roof had been installed, and a rubberized, asphalt/polyethylene flashing was being applied to the outside of the building.


Building insulation is applied to the outside walls and roof (Day 51 - August 16, 2010)


Windows are installed on Day 55 (August 20, 2010)


Inside the Education Center on Day 55 (August 20, 2010)


The Education Center on Shellfish Field Day (Day 63 - August 28, 2010)


Day 68 (September 2, 2010)


Lights and piping for the running seawater systems are installed (Day 76 - September 10, 2010)


A mostly finished Marine Education Center - November 28, 2011


The Marine Education Center on December 4, 2011 - prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Beals Elementary 7th and 8th grade students -- the first K-12 class to use the new Marine Education Center (May 18, 2011).


Thanks to everyone for making this classroom a possibility!


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