By Cheyenne Mathews
The Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb Building is the newest building on the Alaska Native Health Campus in
Anchorage. It features multicolored accents representing the Chugach Mountains in its design. The building is
the centerpiece of multiple projects that Neeser Construction has done for the Southcentral Foundation.
Photo Courtesy of kengrahamphotography.com and Neeser Construction
When Royal Field walks onto the Alaska Native Health Campus, he sees over 20 years of projects he’s worked on. Since 1996, Neeser Construction Inc. has done a design build or design assist on six Southcentral Foundation projects and handled remodels for many others. In September, Neeser finished the Children’s Dental Clinic location for the Southcentral Foundation.
In a newsletter to the Southcentral Community, the foundation wrote, “The Alaska Native Health Campus continues to grow to meet customer-owner needs. Southcentral Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on July 16 on a construction project to build a five-story, 112,400-square-foot building that will house a children’s dental clinic and other programs.”
The clinic is in the new Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb Building, which is named in recognition of the doctors’ work for the Southcentral Foundation. The building opened in October. Katherine Gottlieb is the president and chief executive officer of Southcentral Foundation, a role she has held since 1991. Kevin Gottlieb formerly worked for the Indian Health Service and in 1982 became Southcentral Foundation’s first dentist. He now serves as chief of staff and vice president of resource and development.
Although the building began with plans to focus on the dental needs of Alaska Native children, it has evolved to incorporate many more services. The Alaska Cleft Lip and Palate Program, Dental Assistant Technology program, obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, gynecology-oncology and pediatric behavioral and developmental services are all under the roof of the facility.
Field was Neeser’s design-build coordinator for the Gottlieb Building. Standing at the dental clinic, he can point out the many projects he’s worked on, such as the Fireweed Building and, a little farther away, the Primary Care Center.
“Really I think it was just the chance to get to work with Southcentral Foundation again; they’re kind of like family because it seems like every three to four years we are doing another big project for them,” Field said. “I’ve been working with a lot of the same people for years.”
The lobby between Primary Care Centers One and Two was a design-assist project Neeser Construction worked on from 2000 to 2002.
Photo by Cheyenne Mathews
Field’s work for Southcentral Foundation has also enabled him to participate on symbolic design elements into each building. In the new Gottlieb building (originally slated to be named the Denali Building) there are hints of mountains everywhere. There are outlines of mountains on each door sign, there are blue LED-lit etchings of the Chugach Mountains and a large glass print of Denali peak itself.
Mayquelle Buckley, administrator for Southcentral dental, was on the design-build selection committee for the Gottlieb Building and worked with Neeser Construction on the design-build team for the Valley Native Primary Care Center.
“How they hide (the mountain theme) into the design of the dental clinic and the ortho phase is the shiny superstar of it all,” Buckley said of the LED mountain etchings.
The Gottlieb Building is the centerpiece of Neeser’s Southcentral Foundation projects with a five-story, 112,400-square-foot building that has 32 children’s dental chairs and a connection to a 259,000-square-foot parking garage. The project ended with a $70 million contract for the design build, where Neeser was the source contract for Southcentral Foundation to create the Gottlieb Building.
The sheer size of the building is not the only thing that makes it stand out; special recognition areas honoring Drs. Katherine and Kevin Gottlieb were crafted with handpicked granite boulders and specially made plaques.
Field said he enjoyed working on the Gottlieb Building, but one of his favorite projects for the Southcentral Foundation is a job from 2000.
“This building is unbelievable, it’s really exciting. But I will tell you that the lobby between Primary Care Center One and Primary Care Center Two is probably my most cherished one because it was very, very difficult and it is very cool,” Field said.
The Valley Native Primary Care Center, also known as Benteh Nuutah, is a Neeser Construction design build
project in Wasilla from 2011.
Photo Courtesy of kengrahamphotography.com and Neeser Construction
The lobby in question was a design-assist project for Neeser that involved connecting the two care centers and using a lot of woodwork to craft the lobby. That lobby project came after a Neeser design-build contract from 1996 to 1997 to build the first Primary Care Center. The lobby design assist was followed by a Neeser design assist on a behavioral health clinic in the Fireweed Building from 2002 to 2003. Three years later, Neeser was back at the Alaska Native Health Campus for the Southcentral Foundation and doing the design build for the third Primary Care Center and parking garage.
Even though Buckley worked on the design-build team for the Valley Native Primary Care Center, she sees the new Gottlieb Building as a great addition to the Alaska Native Health Campus.
“Of course, I think the new Gottlieb Building is my favorite building,” Buckley said. “I think it really makes a statement on campus, but yet it still blends in with a lot of the medical campus.”
Before working on the Gottlieb Building, the most recent project Neeser worked on for Southcentral Foundation was the Valley Native Primary Care Center in Wasilla, from 2011 to 2012. Buckley said Neeser’s professionalism and expertise helped them cinch their two most recent projects in the interview selection process.
“They’re good at their job, so it allows us — the people they’re working with — to let our guard down a little bit and have some fun,” Buckley said.
All of the Southcentral Foundation projects have a unique design element. The Valley Native Primary Care Center has a special toddler playground with animals that are important to Alaska Native cultures sprinkled throughout the area.
Field said Neeser will continue to work on remodels for the Southcentral Foundation and hopes to work on another new project with the foundation in the future.
Cheyenne Mathews is a freelance writer who lives in Anchorage.