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Baltimore Business Journal
By: Amanda Yeager
The residents of 901 E. Fayette St. include a stingray, a pufferfish, two seals and several turtles.
They all recently moved in to the National Aquarium's new Animal Care and Rescue Center in historic Jonestown, a 56,339-square-foot space that will provide a home for marine animals waiting to join an exhibit at the aquarium or who need to be quarantined or rehabilitated.
The facility, a former printing company office that cost $16 million to modernize, replaces the aquarium's animal care center at 725 Wolfe St. in Fells Point, which housed animals from 1993 until earlier this year.
The new space comes with a lot more bells and whistles. The facility, designed by architecture firm Design Collective and renovated by contractor Plano Coudon, features quarantine tanks spanning from 50 gallons to 50,000 gallons; two rehabilitation suites for rescued seals; and the capacity to produce 15,000 gallons of saltwater to circulate throughout the building. Each of the center's tanks can be heated or chilled based on an animal's individual needs, and specialized LED lights emulate sunrises and sunsets to help them wake up and fall asleep.
"They really did listen to all the things we said over the years that we wish we had," said Animal Care and Rescue Center manager Ashleigh Crews on a recent tour of the new center.
An official opening is scheduled for May 24, with a ribbon-cutting attended by Mayor Catherine Pugh, NOAA acting deputy administrator Tim Gallaudet, Maryland budget secretary David Brinkley and other dignitaries.
Other highlights of the new center include more room for food preparation and construction of aquarium exhibits, as well as classroom space.
The public will have the chance to get an inside look, with tours of the facility starting for aquarium members in July. Non-members will be able to sign up for tours starting early next year.
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