Gov. Edwards dedicates $25M to water management research, conference center as Water Campus officially opens

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Water Campus on River Rd. is officially open after a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the third building on Tuesday, celebrating the $25 million dedicated by Gov. John Bel Edwards for water management research.

On Tuesday, the Louisiana governor along with East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome joined Baton Rouge Area Foundation President and CEO John Davies and President and CEO Justin Ehrenwerth of The Water Institute of the Gulf and Johnny Bradberry, CPRA Board Chair, to dedicate the completed $25 million Center for Coastal & Deltaic Solutions, the most visible waterfront anchor on the 35-acre Water Campus located between downtown Baton Rouge and the Louisiana State University main campus.

This 34,000 square foot building contains office space on the first and second floors, with an 8,000 square foot conference center on the third floor, all built at Baton Rouge's old municipal dock. The conference center will host academic conventions, research conferences, and will also serve as an event venue for both corporate and private receptions.

"Capitalizing on Louisiana's growing stature as a center of global water management research and development, this iconic building contributes to the Baton Rouge skyline, marks the rebirth of the city's former municipal dock, and serves as a focal point for the important work being done to save our coast," Gov. Edwards said. "This project is the quintessential example of the impact we can make on our future through strategic investments in public-private partnerships."

The Water Campus is a catalyst for development along the Nicholson Corridor between downtown Baton Rouge and LSU. It will provide a strategic location for interaction between regional, national and international coastal, environmental and water-related stakeholders, such as state and federal agencies; educational and research institutions; engineering, environmental, planning and consulting firms; and nonprofit advocates, the governor's office says.

"I am extremely excited about the possibilities that this campus will bring to our great capital city," Mayor-President Broome said. "Not only will it add to our skyline, but it will add to our educational, research, real estate, business, and tourism offerings. Also, as this facility grows, our economy also grows. This is indeed an impressive development for the city and parish, and showcases the importance of water in this area and beyond."

The Water Campus is a $60 million urban development project in downtown Baton Rouge and is the home of the Center for Coastal & Deltaic Solutions and The Water Institute of the Gulf, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and the LSU Center for River Studies.

"We are delighted to move into this iconic building on the river and are excited to see it become a focal point for scientists from across the state and around the world," said The Water Institute's Ehrenwerth. "As the Water Campus grows, this new building will serve as the gathering place for the best scientists, engineers, and researchers as we collectively work toward making communities and economies more resilient in the face of an uncertain future."

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