In 2019, Stone Lab received $2.65 million from Ohio Senate Bill 299, the Clean Lake 2020 Plan, for a new building and equipment for the Lake Erie laboratory, as well as for water quality monitoring equipment in the Maumee River. While construction was delayed in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, work quickly picked up this spring and continues to go mostly on schedule.
The new building is located on South Bass Island’s Peach Point, just north of downtown Put-in-Bay. About 2,000 square feet of space are split between a lab expansion that adds space for research and teaching and a set of outdoor flow-through tanks – also called mesocosms – that was specifically requested by Ohio researchers and includes tanks that allow researchers to do real-time experiments with actual lake water.
The mesocosm membrane frame was constructed and inflated in late July, and workers are now connecting sewer lines to Put-in-Bay’s water treatment facility. Component parts for the pump house that will bring lake water into the mesocosms have to be custom-built overseas, where shipping and other delays due to the pandemic may delay completion until at least late October, but other parts of the construction process will continue as much as possible.
In addition to the new research space, Stone Lab is also getting a new maintenance garage that passed inspection in late July. Workers are currently digging lines for utility pipes and cables, but barring any delays, staff should be able to move into the new space in September.
And once that happens, another flexible lab space in the old maintenance shop will be ready for some additional planned upgrades!