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:
- Refurbished 7,000 square-foot office and laboratory facility
- Laboratories for water quality and environmental research
- 12,000 square foot conference and education facility
- Office space for resident faculty, visiting faculty, and visiting scientists
- Smart classroom for videoconferencing and distance education
- Large meeting room for workshops and symposia
- Conference rooms for small meetings
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.
- Beckman Coulter LS13-320 Laser Diffraction Particle Size Analyzer
- IDEXX – Quanti-Tray Sealer for Total Coliform, E.Coli and Enterococci
- SYSTEA – Easy Chem Descreet Analyzer
- Shimadzu RF-5301 PC Spectrofluorophotometer with Panorama2 software
- Shimadzu UV-1800 Spectrophotometer
- Shimadzu TOC-V CPN Total Organic Carbon Analyzer with ASI-V Autosampler
- Shimadzu TNM-1 Total Nitrogen Measuring Unit
- Shimadzu SSM-5000A Solid Sample Module