Ceremony launches Sierra Nevada College science center | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Ceremony launches Sierra Nevada College science center

Merry Thomas

INCLINE VILLAGE – After officials signed off on $37 million worth of projects to benefit Lake Tahoe last week, scientists and politicians mingled at Sierra Nevada College to celebrate the launching of the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences.

The metal research vessel named Ted Frantz gleamed under the hot sun beached adjacent to the outdoor stage and podium. College President Ben Solomon introduced the speakers, calling the venture “an unprecedented collaboration” and a fitting event to follow the eighth Tahoe Summit at the Ponderosa Ranch.

Wayne Prim, chair of the college’s board of trustees, reiterated the summit’s focus of the many partnerships and collaborations, including bistate agencies.

“This was not an easy task,” he said. “A lot of people have been working hard to make this a reality.”

All are working to contribute to Lake Tahoe’s clarity, he said. “We want science on our side.”

Sen. Harry Reid was acknowledged as a visionary in helping preserve the lake. In fact, the appropriation of $725,000 for the center proposed by the senator and supported by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was approved early this year by Congress and the president.

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Additional funds include $9 million of the more than $13 million raised by the University of California, Davis; $200,000 from Sierra Pacific Power Co. for the center’s energy-efficient design; and SNC will be raising $9.5 million plus an endowment of $3 million. The combined $12.5 million from a single donor would qualify as a naming opportunity.

The 45,000-square-foot building is expected to be a model of environmentally sound design. Perhaps this will be designated the high honor of being named “a green building,” Prim said.

UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef acknowledged the work done by the college’s board of trustees.

“None of us would be here without them,” he said.

He also named the other partners in the science center: the Desert Research Institute, RAND Corp., Carnegie-Mellon and perhaps in the future, Scripps Oceanographic Institute.

The first director of the UC Davis Tahoe Research Center, Geoffrey Schladow was named during the ceremony. Schladow is a civil and environmental engineer who has conducted extensive research at the lake.

“We have done things no one thought was possible,” Sen. Harry Reid said.

Reid generously praised the college, calling it “one of the best-known secrets in Nevada – and the secret’s out of the bag.” He acknowledged the generosity of many to create such a center.