Under the plan, NOAA will construct an administration building, warehouse and waterfront facilities to accommodate four research vessels at Naval Station Newport.  The roughly $150 million project is expected to bring about 200 jobs to Rhode Island. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed helped secure funding for the project. 

Reed said in a news release that relocating NOAA’s Marine Operations Center-Atlantic from Norfolk, Virginia, to Newport will enhance collaboration with the Navy, URI, the Coast Guard and leading ocean scientists and marine businesses. 

“Bringing NOAA’s premiere research fleet and Atlantic operations center to the Ocean State means hundreds of jobs for Rhode Island and a brighter future for our Blue Economy,” Reed said. “Rhode Island will provide NOAA with the infrastructure and skilled marine labor force needed to keep its fleet strong.”

A spokesperson for Reed said plans will be finalized within the next week. A construction contract is expected to be awarded in September 2023, with groundbreaking beginning a month to two months later. The project is expected to take two years to complete.