It might be the off-season for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, but things are far from quiet. The sounds of hammers, saws and grinders have replaced the laughter, lectures and sounds of children and researchers at the Marine Institute.
The Institute notes that for the past two years the number of students and visitors to CCMI has been steadily increasing, and at times, even exceeded the capacity of the station.
To address the increasing demand for space, earlier this year, via an National Science Foundation capacity expansion grant, CCMI was able to conduct some long-overdue renovations to the 10-year-old station.
“We have finally been able to add a walk-in fridge freezer unit to our kitchen that will replace numerous donated fridges and freezers we have been using for the past years,” said Director of Operations Peter Quilliam.
“We can retire about five energy draining fridges and freezers and operate far more efficiently now.”
Efficiency and sustainability play a large role at CCMI as is demonstrated with another part of the station that is being upgraded.
“Something we are really proud of is our bath-house which is totally off the grid,” said Mr. Quilliam. “We have solar power that operates the workshop, a waterless composting toilet system and a passive hot water system.
“The renovation grant allows us to double our solar and passive hot water capacity which is much needed while we have the large group bookings stay with us.”
As well as the addition of more bedrooms, CCMI is ensuring they are prepared for more busy years to come. Mr. Quilliam says the steadily rising increase in visitors has been the result of a combination of factors.
“Firstly, the team we have here is the best I have ever worked with. They are given freedom to create the best experiential learning environment for students of all ages,” he said.
“This is combined with our research department and working together we have created a truly unique product. As a result, CCMI is firmly securing the reputation of being the premier research facility in the Caribbean.”
For more information on CCMI visit www.reefresearch.org.