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WILMINGTON, NC (AP) — A new foundation could save the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s undersea laboratory.

The StarNews of Wilmington reported the Aquarius Foundation has been set up to raise money for the lab that is a key part of the school’s marine science program.

A federal budget awaiting Congressional approval does not include money for the lab.

School officials said in May the center could lose its spot in the Florida Keys by next year unless new funding was located.

Executive director Debbie Illes says the foundation is working to acquire nonprofit status. Illes says the foundation hopes to create a place where individuals, corporations and other operations can help fund the Aquarius lab.

She says the group hopes to raise between $1 million and $3 million.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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