How The Water School at FGCU is helping the SWFL community

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Of the 117,000 square feet of space in the new building, half will be dedicated to research labs. Credit: RG Architects/HuntonBrady Architects

The Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University has made a name for itself in the Southwest Florida community and throughout the state as being on the cutting edge of research. Those with The Water School say they’re doing all they can to tackle SWFL water issues.

“I think The Water School was at the right place and the right time for all the wrong reasons. You know, we had been experiencing all of these issues with water here in Southwest Florida, and so the community was looking for some leadership and some help in the area,” said Greg Tolley, Executive Director of The Water school at FGCU.

After only one year of research, representatives from The Water School have developed a better understanding of what makes algae blooms so harmful. Knowing where they come from is often the first step in reversing or preventing them as well. Researchers also can better pinpoint what’s feeding into the algae blooms.

Tolley said, “We not only try and answer their questions, but we like to solicit their feedback. What is it that concerns you? What is it that we can be doing in your community?”

While the new home for The Water School is still under construction, there is more work to be done. FGCU hopes to be an innovator in that research.
“What we’re trying to do that’s different than in the past is that we’re expanding our harmful algal bloom research very significantly, but we’re also bringing in researchers from across the campus,” Tolley said.

The opening date for Academic Building 9, The Water School’s new home, is January 2022.


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