Lake Superior State University is one step closer to building a new aquatic research lab after a generous donation.
LSSU already secured more than $8 million from the state for their new Center for Freshwater Research.
Richard and Theresa Barch just donated $500,000 to the project getting them closer to their goal.
9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Noah Jurik have more on what the huge donation and project will mean for students.
"I know how much the Aquatic Research Lab has benefited me," fisheries and wildlife student John Milan said. "I can’t wait to see what it’s going to do for others."
John Milan is a senior at Lake Superior State University studying fisheries and wildlife.
He’s spent the past four years in the Aquatic Research Lab getting a taste of what his future could be like.
"Probably the he best way to describe it is more like life changing," Milan said. "Mentally, you know you want to do this instead of just reading about it and going to class and lecturing. You actually get to do it in class."
The Aquatic Research Lab is one of a few across the United States that has an active fish hatchery undergrad students can learn from.
"That really is the mission of the hatchery component of the aquatic research lab is student training," assistant professor and co-director of the Aquatic Research Lab Kevin Kapuscinski said.
LSSU students have the chance to raise fish from the beginning to when they release them into the wild, which is already a great hands on learning opportunity.
They only hope to expand on that when they build the new facility.
"I definitely look forward to it because I know how much the Aquatic Research Lab has benefited me," Milan said. "I can’t wait to see what it’s going to do for others."
The new Center for Freshwater Research will include state-of-the-art facilities and plenty of room for research.
With the $500,000 donation, LSSU has about $2.5 million more to raise.
"It’s a very generous gift that adds momentum to this project," LSSU president Tom Pleger said. "Now, we need to work to have others come forward to help us make this a reality."
LSSU hopes to open the new facility by 2021.