UW-Superior Foundation and the Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) are teaming up for a new floating classroom after a generous donation.

The two groups operated the L.L. Smith Jr. research vessel and program from 1978-2012 and hope to re-establish the new Superior Floating Classroom to provide hands-on learning and research on a vessel on Lake Superior.

A new $100,000 donation from UWS alumni, Bill and Lynne Rogers, will be used to match additional contributions up to $100,000 and get the project one step closer to its goal of buying a new boat.

“The research and education that LSRI does is so important,” said Bill. “In the 1970s, I worked as a deckhand aboard iron ore ships, and in those days, everything was dumped overboard, even paint and chemicals. I never forgot that, so Lynne and I are passionate about the ballast water research and other conservation and education efforts being done by LSRI and UW-Superior.”

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The project is currently in a two-year planning phase and the "boat acquisition advisory committee" is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S.DOT Maritime Administration and regional experts to find a state-of-the-art vessel that includes a room for passengers and the ability for researchers from any discipline from anywhere around the world to conduct research.

Amy Eliot, LSRI assistant director says, “We will use the gift to cover the cost of a proof of concept design and cost estimate for the vessel, which will in turn be used to raise funds for the full construction plans needed to acquire or refurbish a boat. We will also use the funds to hire a program coordinator to assist with developing the education framework for the Superior Floating Classroom.”

Anyone interested in donating the project and have their contribution matched dollar-for-dollar by the Rogers’ challenge gift, can go to uwsuper.edu/together or by calling the UW-Superior Foundation at 715-394-8452.

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