The Aquarium Science (AQS) building was constructed in 2010 and was opened for classes in the fall of 2011. This 9500 sq. ft. facility, located at the Central Oregon Coast Community College campus in Newport, was built with State and Lincoln County funds. The AQS building is designed to be a teaching facility and laboratory that mimics the organization and set-up of working spaces typical of a public aquarium facility. Spaces include a water quality lab, teaching lab, animal holding lab, food preparation lab, life support room and workshop. The facility was built with operational and energy efficiency in mind through the use of recirculating heat and solar panels. The key intention of the AQS facility is to provide an environment for Aquarium Science students to gain knowledge and hands-on skills that will assist them in the Aquarium Science industry.
The AQS Lobby is equipped with tables and chairs that provide students with an area to study, hold club meetings, start off lab sessions, or work on projects between classes. The lobby is spacious and well lit with natural sunlight to create a pleasant atmosphere to study or catch up with fellow students. The Lobby also contains an aquarium, cared for by students, which greets guests as they enter the building.
The Teaching lab is equipped with lab seating for 24 students. This lab space is set up with traditional classroom instruction equipment (i.e. projector, screen and whiteboard) for use and integration with lab activities. Overhead water lines supply cold and warm fresh and saltwater as well as power and central aeration to the area allowing for numerous aquarium systems set up in the lab space. The majority of the courses in the program use this space for instruction, lab activities, and projects.
Animal Holding Lab
The Animal Holding Lab is the largest room in the building. Water, air, and power are all supplied from overhead in order to allow for a flexible floor plan. The room contains live aquatic specimens in both freshwater and marine aquariums which AQS students and facility personnel maintain and care for. The room is also contains storage for various aquarium tools and equipment, and is equipped with an artificial seawater mixing system for marine aquaria. Virtually all AQS courses make use of this area throughout the program’s curriculum.
Food Prep Lab
The Food Prep lab mimics that of an aquatic animal kitchen at a professional facility. The room is designed to instruct students in the proper storage, preparation, handling, and delivery of aquatic animal food items and supplementation for animals kept in aquariums throughout the facility. The lab is lined with stainless steel counters that contain deep sinks and storage cabinets and is equipped with a freezer, refrigerator, cutting boards, knives, blenders and various other items to aid in the preparation and storage of animal food items. The main classes that utilize this area include: Intro to Aquarium Science (AQS 100), Biology of Captive Fish (AQS 215), Reproduction and Nutrition of Aquatic Animals (AQS 232), and Fish and Invertebrate Health Management.
Live Culture Lab
The Live Culture Lab is a temperature-controlled room that allows for the culturing of live food items (algae, rotifers, etc.) for animals kept in aquariums throughout the facility. This room is also equipped with environmental system water lines and central aeration supplied from the Life Support Room. Various culture vessels and equipment specific to rearing live food items are contained in this area. Some of the classes that use the Live Culture lab include: Biology of Captive Invertebrates (AQS 220), and Reproduction and Nutrition of Aquatic Animals (AQS 232).
Water Quality Lab
The Water Quality lab was established to support the testing and monitoring of water quality and animal health. The lab is equipped with dissecting microscopes, compound microscopes, balances, water quality testing equipment, and reagents. Some of the main courses in which the water quality lab is used are: Intro to Aquarium Science (AQS 100), Biology of Captive Fish (AQS 215), Biology of Captive Invertebrates (AQS 220), Reproduction and Nutrition of Aquatic Animals (AQS 232), and Fish and Invertebrate Health Management.
The Student Workshop is equipped with materials, machinery, and tools intended to aid students in the design and construction of various aquarium science related projects. Proper handling and use of each material, machine, and tool in the workshop are taught throughout the curriculum. The main courses that utilize the workshop in support of associated activities and projects include: Intro to Aquarium Science (AQS 100), Life Support Design and Operation (AQS 240) and Exhibits and Interpretation (AQS 252).
Life Support Systems Room
The Life Support Systems (LSS) Room is equipped with water reservoirs that provide the make-up supply of warm freshwater, warm saltwater, and cold saltwater. The room also contains a water recovery system to aid in the recycling of used aquarium water from the facility. Water lines from each of the different containment vessels are labeled and run to supply locations throughout the facility. The LSS room also contains a centralized air blower, which supplies low pressure air to various locations throughout the facility. Although not designed as an instructional space for classes, the LSS room does support demonstration activities for the Life Support Design and Operation course (AQS 240).