In 2006, a $5 million appropriation was received from the South Carolina General Assembly to improve and expand the Belle W. Baruch Institute's capabilities to support the growing need for coastal environmental research. The construction project refurbished existing laboratories for research on water quality, forest productivity, and the impact of urban growth on the environment. It also added an approximately 12,000 square-foot conference and education facility equipped with two-way video conferencing capabilities for distance education.
The facilities include:
The facilities meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification requirements set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Carpeting, paints and construction material produced from natural materials with low volatile organic compounds were used. And the facilities were awarded a regional honorable mention award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc. for the HVAC system's energy efficiency. In addition, landscaping for the new facility demonstrates storm water management techniques and the use of coastal plants for home landscapes.
There are three dedicated laboratories with over 1,200 square feet including an instrument room, an organic laboratory with a 4-foot perchloric acid fume hood and a general-purpose laboratory with a 6-foot perchloric fume hood. An auxiliary building with over 2,000 square feet contains a storage room with a stainless steel counter and sink, a tissue and soil grinding room that has a Wiley mill below an exhaust hood and a shop area that contains the drying oven.