Loggerhead Marinelife Center is about to see a new wave of progress.
By 2020, the world-class sea turtle rehabilitation center in Juno Beach will feature a rehabilitation yard more than double its current size—only one new component of a $14 million expansion coming to the facility.
Loggerhead’s Waves of Progress capital campaign will help fund the expansion, adding on more than 27,000 square feet of space, which includes new classroom and presentation space, a larger research lab and sea turtle hospital, and even a new Ocean View Cafe.
When the current facility opened in 2007, Loggerhead Marinelife Center was drawing an average of 70,000 annual visitors. In 2016, the sea turtle rehabilitation center drew 300,000 guests throughout the year. As the animal hospital has continued to grow, so has its need to expand.
“I kind of feel like in some respects that Loggerhead is ‘The Little Engine That Could,'” Loggerhead CEO Jack Lighton said.
The hospital yard will feature a larger number of rehabilitation tanks, plus an outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Ocean Reef Tank, which showcases the sea turtles in a more natural marine habitat.
Loggerhead will also offer a new auditorium that can fit groups of 300 or more for large symposiums and presentations, as well as a larger exhibit hall with state-of-the-art interactive displays. And new classrooms will allow Loggerhead to qualify for new educational grants.
“We’re expanding not only our care of turtles, but also our footprint in all these areas,” Lighton said.
Of the $14 million required to fund the expansion, Loggerhead is already about 40 percent of the way there, as of March 2017. That includes a $250,000 matching grant from global philanthropist Roe Green, which will ultimately allow the center to raise $500,000 toward the campaign.
Once fundraising is complete, construction is expected to take 18 months to 2 years, and Loggerhead will remain open and fully operational throughout the process.
See renderings of the plans below:
(Renderings courtesy Cambridge 7 and Harvard-Jolly. Lead photo of Jack Lighton, LMC President and CEO, and Lynne Wells, Capital Campaign Director and LMC board member, courtesy Tracey Benson Photography)