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Oregon State University will hold a public meeting this week on its plans to build a new classroom and laboratory building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

The meeting will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hatfield facility’s visitor center, 2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive in Newport.

Center director Bob Cowen and Bob Zimmerman of YGH Architects will lead the presentation.

OSU intends to build an 85,000-square-foot structure at the Hatfield facility as the centerpiece of its Marine Studies Initiative, a major expansion of the university’s presence in Newport.

The $50 million project has been highly controversial because the site on Yaquina Bay is in a tsunami zone. Critics say the location would be right in the path of a tsunami that would likely follow a major earthquake such as the Cascadia Subduction Zone quake that experts say is likely to strike the area in the foreseeable future.

OSU counters that the new building will be constructed to survive a tsunami and will be equipped for safe evacuation of all users. The university has appointed an oversight committee to ensure the project meets those goals.

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Special Projects Editor

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald