KSU Plans Floating Lab On Kentucky River

Kentucky State University in Frankfort is expanding its aquatic research capabilities to the nearby Kentucky River. KSU’s regents have approved the use of federal funds to purchase a $320,000 dollar floating laboratory.

Dr. James Tidwell, head of the university’s aquaculture program, says the vessel will be used to research water quality and fish and freshwater mussel populations, and for graduate programs, like the master’s in environmental studies.

“We would bring school groups in, college groups in, teach them all about the history of the river – geology of how it formed, all the flora/fauna – and then be able to walk them out the back after this pre-teach and put them on the boat now and really let them see what it is that they’ve been looking at in almost a museum setting, but now see it in life and in real time,” he said.

A Kentucky company is building the 52-foot, 48-passenger houseboat, which should be outfitted and ready for launch by next spring. The boat will be docked near the old federal building in Frankfort, which KSU recently purchased.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.