Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research & Extension Center.
The Virginia Seafood Agriculture Research Extension Center facility has been a fixture on the City of Hampton’s working waterfront since 1975. It previously housed a former oyster processing facility. The floors in the previous building sloped, so that occupants had to balance themselves as they walked through hallways. The lower floor level flooded during significant storms. This new facility, completed a few yards away, addressed all of these shortfalls. The new completed facility is leased to Virginia Tech to support the Virginia Tech Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (VSAREC) and their ongoing research and educational efforts. VSAREC is focused on creating the most vital and current technologies and techniques that impact our global seafood, fisheries, and aquaculture industries. The new building was elevated to protect the occupied spaces on the second and third floors from the worst-possible flooding situation. The space underneath the elevated floors functions as a 15-space parking garage for staff. Raw water tanks are located adjacent to the building to store untreated water directly drawn from the Hampton River. This raw water is then pumped through the facility for use in multiple wet labs. All wet labs are located on the second floor. The facility’s third floor houses the offices and other dry spaces.
Funding for this new research facility was provided through multiple sources. This included the building owner, the Virginia Tech Foundation, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Hampton, and through a grant issued by the Federal Economic Development Authority. All of these sources wanted to ensure that the facility stayed in Hampton to serve as a stimulus and design benchmark for the forthcoming redevelopment of the Hampton River waterfront. The team worked closely to provide not only a world class, functional research facility, but a building that responds to the established context of the Hampton waterfront.