Local Residents Bring Discovery Hall One Step Closer to Completion

Rendering of Discovery Hall by Lewis + Whitlock Architects

By: Lexxie Beckmeyer

The Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory’s vision of leading the way in marine ecosystem science and conservation is closer to reality thanks to the generosity of two Tallahassee residents. David and Jennifer Bailey have recently pledged $100,000 toward the construction of Discovery Hall, a new state-of-the-art research facility that will be the centerpiece of the Marine Lab’s scientific and academic initiatives.

“The enthusiasm both David and Jennifer have displayed for Discovery Hall is a testament to their abiding interest in the marine environment, their love for this remarkable coast and their confidence in the work our scientists conduct related to the conservation of nature,” said Felicia Coleman, director of FSUCML.

The couple expressed their excitement in helping the Marine Lab as they continue to broaden their landscape of research. “We believe our support will allow the lab to become an important tool for both faculty and students as they advance our understanding of the sea, as well as promote responsible environmental stewardship,” they shared. “On a personal level, we view this as leaving a lasting footprint of our time here, as we expect our [gift] will positively affect lives long after we’re gone.”

Located on 72-acres along Coastal Highway 98, Discovery Hall will secure the Marine Lab’s prestige as a pioneer in interdisciplinary research and outreach—advancing their mission of coastal and marine exploration while mentoring the next generation of problem solvers.

The Jennifer Pepper Bailey and David L. Bailey Research Laboratory within Discovery Hall will support researchers in their quest to address pressing challenges related to our watersheds, fisheries, salt marshes and seagrass ecology, as well as climate change.

The Baileys first met during their final year at Georgia Institute of Technology. They have spent most of their lives together residing on or nearby the coast and, upon retirement from their respective engineering careers, were drawn to create their new home in Tallahassee. The region resonated with them due to the proximity of the Florida coast as well as the preeminent presence FSU held within the community.

The couple was initially introduced to the Marine Lab through their attendance at the FSUCML Conservation Lecture Series, an ongoing discussion where community members are invited to hear from experts on a wide range of topics.

“We have been attending the monthly lectures for many years and we have always been very impressed by the high-quality presentations and science they discuss,” the Baileys shared. “The featured presenters, whether faculty or visiting scholars, are always top of their field, and we have had the pleasure of meeting these many dedicated individuals working in marine and coastal research and discipline.”

When asked about why they found it important to support FSUCML, the couple explained, “We probably know more about outer space then we do about how our oceans and coastal areas contribute to our planet. The oceans are the last frontier in a sense. These discoveries are only possible if curious people, like those at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory, are supported in their quests for answers.”

Visit the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory online to learn more about how you can support their mission.