Big news in our plans for expansion!

On Sept. 4 Sea Turtle, Inc. was notified that it was awarded a grant by the Shelton Family Foundation for $30,000 to build an acrylic tank in our new Educational Center. The tank will be the centerpiece in the open entrance of the future facility. It will be a replication of the Flower Gardens Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico and there will be an educational display about coral reef ecosystems. It will also house our hawksbill patients, which live among the coral habitat.

Plans for our new 4,000 square-foot Educational Center.

Plans for our new 4,000 square-foot Educational Center.

Later that day, an anonymous benefactor told us they will donate $100,000 to help build the new center.

We are truly humbled!!

And now that we have made it closer to our fundraising goal — $800,000 of $1.2 million for Phase 2 — our Executive Director, Jeff George, will be meeting with the architect to finalize the blueprints for our new Educational Center.  Because of these additional funds, we will be able to begin construction in early 2015!

The project

Sea Turtle, Inc. has reached a critical point in its need for expansion. Each summer we reach maximum capacity of 1,000 visitors a day, our parking lot is over flowing, often with people circling, parking at neighboring businesses, or not stopping by at all. We lose important sales in the gift shop because it is too packed in the small 400 square-foot space, shared with our ICU, for everyone to come in. We have seven staff members sharing a 225 square-foot office that is also used as the employee breakroom and some storage. And, there is only one restroom for all of these visitors and staff to share.

Our 400 square-foot gift shop shares space with our ICU and on busy days, it can be very snug in there.

Our 400 square-foot gift shop shares space with our ICU and on busy days, it can be very snug in there.

The planned expansion will cost $4 million in total and has been in the planning process for years. To date, we have raised a little over $2 million for the project

In 2012, STI purchased five acres of adjacent land northwest of our current facility for $985,000, and this spring we finished Phase 1, which was building a road to the new site — with the solar lights for the road — and preliminary infrastructure for the building. That phase cost about $450,000. We have raised another $800,000 of the $1.2 million needed to build the Educational Center and plan to begin construction on that phase early next year.

Razoo

With all these great things happening, we still need to meet our fundraising goals to finish the project.

STI has launched an online Razoo fundraiser to raise another $200,000 for this phase of development.

“We are asking everyone to consider donating just $10 and share this fundraiser with three friends!” said Megan Chilcutt, Public Relations and Marketing Director at STI. “We know with your help… we can grow!”

Please go to http://www.razoo.com/story/Seaturtleinc to donate today! And just as important, please click on the social media share buttons to help us spread the word.