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Romberg Tiburon marine center may close amid budget shortfalls

Several of the buildings at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center at the Romberg Tiburon Campus are dilapidated and unusable. San Francisco State has spent several million dollars in renovations in hope to use them as offices or housing, but that’s stalled and could take tens of millions to finish. (Elliot Karlan photo / For The Ark)

The future of the Estuary & Ocean Science Center is in doubt, with San Francisco State University officials saying budget shortfalls may force the closure of the Paradise Drive marine biology research station within a year if additional funding cannot be found.

“The work of the (center) and partner organizations at the campus are as vital as ever,” university spokesman Robert King said in a statement. “However, the current model isn’t sustainable financially.”

He said staff and faculty that leave the Romberg Tiburon Campus are no longer being replaced.

Employees there reportedly have been told their jobs may be in jeopardy but that tenured professors would be relocated to the university’s San Francisco campus. Those contacted by The Ark said they were instructed to not speak with the press.

Former Executive Director Karina Nielsen, who left April 30 for a job with Oregon State University’s Sea Grant program, did not confirm whether there would be layoffs, while biology professor Katharyn Boyer, who is acting as interim executive director, did not respond to a request for comment.

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