Florida Oceanographic Society plans multi-million-dollar upgrade at Coastal Center

STUART — The Florida Oceanographic Society is planning a $6.5 million expansion project at its 57-acre campus on Hutchinson Island.

And the nonprofit environmental organization has already raised about $4 million but needs help reaching its goal, said Executive Director Mark Perry.

The upgrade, with a 16,350-square-foot Ocean EcoCenter as its centerpiece, will allow the group to significantly expand its education, research and advocacy for Florida's coastal ecosystems, Perry said.

"Obviously, we've already been working on this project for a while," Perry said, "and we've gotten tremendous support from the many people who have traditionally supported us. We decided that now it's time to ask the public for help."

The society's campus currently has the Frances Langford Visitor Center, nature trails and display areas featuring stingrays, sea stars and sea turtles centered around a 750,000-gallon man-made lagoon with sharks, game fish and turtles.

Read full article . . .