Redefining the Classroom

Half-million dollar gift launches Center for Freshwater Research and Education capital campaign

Posted: January 11th, 2017


STOCKING FOR THE FUTURE – Richard and Theresa Barch (center) help stock Atlantic salmon outside Lake Superior State University's Aquatic Research Laboratory (ARL) in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., during a June 3, 2016, ceremony that marked 30 years of LSSU raising and stocking one of the world's top sport fish into the St. Mary's river system and upper Great Lakes. Assisting are Lab manager Roger Greil (left) and LSSU President Tom Pleger. The Barches presented LSSU on Dec. 20 with a half-million dollar gift towards transforming the ARL into the Center for Freshwater Research (CFRE). The $11.8 million facility, slated for completion in 2021, will include an improved hatchery facility as well as expanded research and classroom space, state-of-the-art research and fish disease testing labs, a community visitor’s center and K-12 discovery area, and offices for regional partners. (LSSU/John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with the caption above can be found by clicking here.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Richard and Theresa Barch of Ann Arbor, Mich., have presented Lake Superior State University with a half-million dollar gift towards the transformation of LSSU's Aquatic Research Laboratory into the Center for Freshwater Research and Education (CFRE). The $11.8 million project, slated for completion in 2021, will include an improved hatchery facility, expanded research and classroom space, state-of-the-art research and fish disease testing labs, a community visitor’s center and K-12 discovery area, and offices for regional partners.

LSSU’s Foundation Office accepted the $500,000 leadership gift from the Dick and Theresa Barch Foundation during a ceremonial check signing in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 20.

“Theresa and I have been advocates of the work being done by the students, faculty and staff at the ARL for many years,” said Richard Barch. “It is our pleasure to provide this support to make this renovation happen and take their research and fish stocking to a new level. We hope others will join us in helping make this facility a reality.”

"The Barches have made a most generous and significant gift that will help spur other contributions to make this project a reality for LSSU, Sault Ste. Marie, and the Great Lakes," said LSSU President Tom Pleger. "The CFRE/ARL project is important to Sault Ste. Marie's and Michigan's future economy as its focus will be on furthering our understanding of Great Lakes freshwater ecosystems and training future scientists and educators."

“From a fundraising perspective this generous gift by the Barches is the kind of positive momentum we need to set the tone for a campaign,” said Tom Coates, executive director - LSSU Foundation. “This is one of the largest gifts we have received in the history of our Foundation. We are very appreciative of their support and Dick’s volunteer commitment as our campaign co-chair.”

CFRE will be housed in the west end annex of the Cloverland Electrical Cooperative hydroelectric plant on the St. Mary’s River, donated in 2004 when Edison Sault Electric owned the plant. Edison Sault also allocated space and resources on the plant's east end - the ARL's current location - for more than three decades.

Since 1977, LSSU’s current Aquatic Research Laboratory has been a model of a public-private partnership in research, education, and outreach, providing important economic, educational, and scientific benefits to the region. The lab's stocking of Atlantic salmon in the St. Mary’s River for more than three decades has created a world-class fishery in the upper Great Lakes that is valued at over $9 million to the Michigan economy. Its educational impact is equally impressive, as more than 50% of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources officers have been educated at LSSU.

However, over the past decade ARL programs have dramatically outgrown the current facility's capacity. CFRE - with at least triple the ARL's space and capabilities - will provide LSSU students and other researchers with a unique environmental and educational facility. It will also be a premier center for public outreach on issues of regional Great Lakes ecology.

Barch, an avid hunter, fisherman, philanthropist, conservationist and traveler, discovered the LSSU Aquatic Research Lab during his pursuit of Atlantic salmon. He said he has hunted and fished in more than 60 countries on seven continents, and in his travels has found the fishing for Atlantic salmon in the St. Mary's River to be the best he has seen anywhere.

Barch served in the U.S. Army and the British 17/21 Lancers before beginning his career in finance with Kenower, MacArthur and Co. Investment Bankers in 1964 and eventually founding his own business, Stauder, Barch and Associates, in 1968, which grew to be the largest municipal consulting firm in Michigan. The company under Barch’s leadership became known throughout the industry as the "school districts' consultant" for having provided services to more school districts than any other firm in the state.

In 2001, LSSU presented him with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his work on behalf of public education in the state of Michigan.

The CFRE gift continues a legacy of generosity started when the Barches contributed $200,000 towards the opening of LSSU's Fine Arts Center in 2005.

The Barch CFRE gift also launches the LSSU Foundation's "quiet phase" of a capital campaign that seeks to raise $3 million for Lake State's share of the project. Last July, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a capital outlay bill that earmarked $8.8 million in State support for CFRE construction.

Run a Web search on "LSSU Center for Freshwater Research and Education CFRE" for project details and updates. Contact Tom Coates, executive director of the LSSU Foundation Office, to contribute to CFRE's capital campaign.


CEREMONIAL CFRE CHECK– Richard and Theresa Barch (center) present Lake Superior State University with a half-million dollar gift towards transforming LSSU's existing Aquatic Research Laboratory (ARL) into a new Center for Freshwater Research and Education. The $11.8 million facility, slated for completion by 2021, will provide an improved hatchery facility as well as expanded research and classroom space, state-of-the-art research and fish disease testing labs, a community visitor’s center and K-12 discovery area, and offices for regional partners. A signing ceremony for the Barch gift took place Dec. 20 in Lansing, Mich. Accepting for LSSU, from left, are ARL manager Roger Greil, LSSU President Tom Pleger, and Tom Coates, executive director of the LSSU Foundation. (LSSU Photo)

A print-resolution photo that runs with the caption above can be found by clicking here.



-LSSU-


CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Coates, Executive Director of LSSU Foundation Office, e-mail, 906-635-6670.