Construction of a new laboratory at RPI’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute will begin this summer and will be completed before autumn, said RPI president Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson.
According to Jackson, RPI will finance the construction of the new lab as part of its contribution to the Jefferson Project, the program created by IBM, The Fund for Lake George and RPI to bring high technology to the study and preservation of Lake George’s water quality.
The new lab will house a monitoring system that will give scientists a view of three-dimensional circulation models in Lake George, the first ever to be created. Those models will enable scientists to understand how currents distribute nutrients and contaminants around the lake, as well as the relationships between contaminants and particular stressors, such as road de-icing agents.
“Lake George has a lot to teach us, if we look closely,” said Jackson. “We are creating a global model for environmental research and protection of water resources.”
“This is where the magic will happen,” said Eric Siy, the executive director of The Fund for Lake George. “These big monitors will display what’s happening in real time, in the water, on the land and in the air. We’ll be able to see pictures of the current and future computer modeled conditions, water chemistry, and health of the natural systems.”
The data streaming in from sensors installed throughout Lake George and displayed on the monitors will be analyzed by a new generation of IBM supercomputers, the fastest in the world. The lab will also house hardware, software and equipment that will be utilized by RPI faculty, students and visiting researchers, said Jackson.
The Town of Bolton’s Planning Board unanimously approved RPI’s plans for the new lab when they were presented to the board on April 21 by Tenee Rehm Casaccio of JMZ architects and Mark Tabor of the LA Group.
According to Casaccio, the new building was needed to house the lab because no space is available in existing facilities.
The new, two story building will replace a one story cabin and will not be visible from the lake, Cassacio said.
“The Jefferson Project is a great thing for Lake George and the lab will be an excellent addition to the Darrin Fresh Water Institute and Bolton Landing,” said Casaccio.