Any thoughts on the aquarium or Center’s renovations? Feel free to share them in the comments. For photos of the installation, taken with my trusty iPhone, have a look below the cut.
Center in the Square got tanked up Thursday afternoon.
The downtown Roanoke cultural institution took a major step forward in its $27 million renovation as a flatbed truck delivered the much-ballyhooed 5,500-gallon aquarium that will house live coral and saltwater fish by the entrance to Center’s atrium.
Center officials say the tank will be the largest living coral reef aquarium in the mid-Atlantic region. The nearest, in the Smithsonian’s Natural Museum of Natural History, holds 1,500 gallons.
As wide and tall as a bus, the 7,000-pound tank was lifted by crane and placed onto rollers but couldn’t be wheeled into the building until ceiling ducts were taken apart so the top of the tank could clear. It was ultimately lowered into a depression in the cement floor and placed on top of blocks of ice, which gradually melted to let the tank gently settle into its space.
Jeff Turner of Florida-based firm Reef Aquaria Design, which designed the tank, said 10,000 gallons of water will circulate through the tank’s system once it’s hooked up to the pumps and filters in the building’s basement. The 250 marine fish and 150 live soft and stony corals that will eventually go inside will almost all come from aquatic farms rather than from the ocean, he said.
Because the tank is so large, divers will have to place the coral inside the aquarium, Turner said.