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Former Vice President Al Gore is expected to be in Hollywood Thursday for the grand opening of Nova Southeastern University's Coral Reef Research Center.
The $40 million center, located in John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, will be the largest of its kind in the U.S. and only research facility in the nation solely dedicated to coral reef ecosystems research.
The 86,000-square-foot facility is energy efficient and has created 22 new academic jobs and will employ 50 graduate students. NSU received a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and funded the rest of the project.
South Florida accounts for 84 percent of all the coral reefs in the U.S., and the reefs help pump $6 billion annually into the local economy.
"By opening this state-of-the-art facility, NSU is taking a leadership role in Florida’s marine science research and helping boost an important multibillion dollar coral industry that employs thousands of South Floridians and sustains many small businesses," NSU President George L. Hanbury said in a statement. "The center is critical for the environmental sustainability of coral reefs, which are the life blood of our region and oceans."
The grand opening ceremony is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.