Construction Resumes on UAF Engineering Building

By Tracy Kalytiak
Davis Constructors & Engineers resumed work on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Engineering Building in October after the University of Alaska Board of Regents authorized an approximately $40 million bond package needed to complete the $121.6 million project.

The Alaska Legislature, in 2012, allocated an initial $60 million for the six-story, 119,000-gross-square-foot structure, which ECI/Hyer Architecture & Interiors designed. Construction was suspended in 2015, however, after the Legislature did not approve the money needed to complete the facility and renovate 30,000 square feet of the existing Duckering Building.

Davis vice president Carl Swanson and project manager Jon Bush are supervising the remainder of the interior build-out, which includes the basement and the first through the fourth floors.

“Construction that has been com-pleted to date is part of the core and shell package, which includes all of the structural steel, concrete, exterior glazed curtain walls, site work and primary electrical and mechanical services,” Bush said.

The facility — situated between the Duckering and Bunnell buildings — will feature a 48-foot-high bay area with a 4-foot-thick strong floor and an 120-foot-long overhead bridge crane with an exterior garage door opening that enables bridge girders and other large structural beams to be rolled in for testing.

“Engineering students and the state will be able to use the high bay to stress test large structural members like concrete bridge girders and steel beams to determine points of failure during stress testing,” Bush said.

Other features include in-floor radiant heating with the capacity to switch into cooling mode; room features such as a woodshop, machine shop, welding shop, subsurface hydrology lab, geological materials lab, chemical engineering labs, reservoir rock and fluids lab, advanced technologies lab, fluid mechanics lab, electronics labs and research labs; audio-visual presentation design theater; and one minus-40 ultra-low cold room and four minus-20-degree (Celsius) cold rooms.

Bush said Davis is also preparing lab space that will house the university’s new multi-collector inductively coupled mass spectrometer — a van-sized isotope-analyzing device the university purchased with the help of a $580,000 National Science Foundation grant.

“One of the other bells and whistles included in the TI (Tenant Improvement) is a very cool terrazzo floor that’s going in a section of the fourth floor,” Bush said. “It’s just a section, but they’re going to do a map of the state of Alaska in terrazzo. It’s going to have the lat(itude)-long(itude) lines, and you can see the oceans, part of Russia and part of Canada.”

In early November, workers were roughing in mechanical and electrical and beginning to frame in the walls, Bush said. “We’re working from the top down to the basement,” he said.

If all goes as planned, classes in the facility will begin in January 2018.

“I’m very excited to be on the project,” Bush said. “It’s a very unique building.

Tracy Kalytiak is a freelance writer who lives in Palmer.