Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pedestrian caution advised along Spirit Way near engineering construction site

One on UAA campus, stay on the east side of Spirit Way.
Students walking from UAA student housing to class through Providence's campus frequently cross busy Providence Drive on the west side of Spirit Way. This stretch, alongside the new engineering construction site, does not have a sidewalk. In addition, builders are erecting large sections of structural steel at the east end of the engineering building site.

For both reasons, walkers are advised to use the east side of Spirit (the ANSEP side) that has a safe sidewalk and is further removed from the construction site.

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

From the 'Wish We Had A Helicopter' school of photography

Street view of the new Elmore Road roundabout.
Here is the Elmore Road roundabout, unveiled late Monday. This photo was snapped by our friend Ryan Buchholdt in Facilities from the University Lake Building parking lot on the east side of Elmore Road, showing the street-level view of the roundabout. Thank you, Ryan!

Ryan says traffic has been increasing along this stretch of Elmore as more and more folks realize it is once again open and linking traffic between Tudor Road and Providence Drive.

If you happen to fly over, snap us a shot and we'll post it here. A bird's eye view might be easier to fully absorb the addition of the roundabout and how it affects movement along Elmore.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Use Elmore Road to get to work tomorrow! It re-opens after 6 p.m. Monday 9/16

Thank you, Sun.
The sunny weather the last few days has helped.

And now, the word is OFFICIAL:

Elmore Road, with its new roundabout, will re-open Monday, Sept. 16 after 6 p.m., once again linking Tudor Road to Providence Drive via Elmore Road. This makes access to UAA dorms, APU, Alaska Public Media and the Alaska Native Medical Center campus easier for everyone.

That means you can use it tomorrow in your morning commute.

Just for fun, we have a very unofficial countdown clock running at this link. And as soon as we get one, we'll post a shot of what the roundabout looks like.

Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Oh, Elm-o-o-o-o-o-ore! When will you re-open?

Sunshine, Sat+Sun+Mon.
The secret to that puzzle is the weather. As we have posted here earlier, our very wet August and September slowed down road construction projects, not just for UAA, but for the whole city.

On the bright side, take a look at the weather forecast for the next few days. If we are in for some good dry weather, as it appears we are, then much progress will be made.

A check with UAA Facilities indicates that the news is promising. The Elmore Road roundabout construction team has  poured the last bit of concrete today, and must pave the sidewalks in the area. If the weather cooperates, the odds are looking good that work could be complete by Sunday. We aren't promising that, but we have fingers and toes crossed that the sun will stick with us for a few days and let this work proceed quickly.

In other news, in an effort to utilize some of the very unused parking on campus, the UAA Alumni Association offered to host free coffee and morning treats for three mornings in the Fine Arts parking lot,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wet weather delays Elmore re-opening; more parking coming online in South Lot Sept. 10

Elmore closure extended into the week

The Elmore closure, which was originally scheduled to finish on Monday, Sept. 2, is being extended into this week. The completion date is dependent on weather and availability of paving crews. The rainy weather has delayed paving projects across the city.

South Lot parking status; adding 60 more spaces by Sept. 10

The temporary staging yard for the new engineering building, across Providence at the SE corner of Lake Otis and 36th, is expected to be complete and ready for use on Monday, Sept. 9. This will allow the engineering building contractor, Neeser Construction, to relocate some of their equipment from South Lot to the temporary yard—and free up more parking in South Lot.

The fence around the building site will be pulled in, returning an additional row of parking, by the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 10 (maybe as soon as late in the day on the Sept. 9).

North Lot parking status

Facilities Maintenance & Operations will begin to move the remainder of their equipment out of North Lot on Tuesday, Sept. 10; it will take several days but this will free up more parking spaces.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How South Lot will look through the winter (another row of parking added back in)

Right now, two bays of parking are available on the west side of the South Lot in front of Wells Fargo Sports Complex. Once the contractor is able to pull his equipment in closer to the Engineering Building site, another bay of parking will open in this lot, for an addition of roughly 60 more spaces. Pictured at left is the expected status for this parking lot and construction site throughout this winter. Illustration provided by Facilities. Click here for a larger version.

Meanwhile, an analysis of spaces within the fenced area in the North Lot behind GHH shows that moving all this gear will open up 104 spaces. The new shuttle stop in this lot will take up four spots, and cutting the curb will eat two more. But an additional 30 parking spots will be available outside of the fenced area as Facilities continues to relocate its equipment to allow more parking in this lot.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Going to UAA One Stop over the weekend? Read this.

There are special hours in Advising and Testing and the One-Stop this weekend, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. WolfCard and Cashiering are not presently planning to be open.

The Municipality has advised UAA that rain has prevented start of the paving project planned for weekday evenings this week. Initially they had planned to close the intersection of 36th and Old Seward Highway Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Because of the persistent rain the closure of that intersection could, is likely, to include day time hours now as the rush to complete paving during breaks in the rainfall this weekend.

The main entrance to the University Center (40th Avenue) will be open and the traffic signal in operation, but Old Seward Highway may be closed north of the light.

Anyone coming to the University Center this weekend should approach the building from the South (Tudor Road) or from the West coming across directly on 40th Avenue.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Got parking? UAA campus parking survival guide

Click here for full-size campus map.
You can’t help notice that UAA is growing. New buildings are rising, roads are hatching roundabouts, trees are moving and new footpaths are emerging—right before our eyes.

We know campus does not look like it did when you left last May. So here is our short, fall 2013 parking survival guide. In it you can learn:

  • Where new parking spaces have been added; when more will open up
  • Where’s the newest shuttle stop, and faster shuttle arrival times
  • Best places to park for a bookstore visit (hint: not where you parked last year)
  • How to ride city buses for free; other alternatives to driving to campus
  • How to get between the dorms and campus during road construction
So, here’s the facts
Seawolf Shuttle stops every six minutes; every 20 at UC.
  • Seawolf Shuttle frequency will increase to every 6 min; every 20 min at UC. Parking your car for free at UC, and using the shuttle to get to campus, could be a smart strategy.
  • Health Sciences Building across Providence Drive has an expanded parking lot, with 60 new spaces.
  • The North Lot, behind Gordon Hartlieb Hall (GHH) has 50 new spots; within a month, it will have 50 more. New Seawolf Shuttle stop and a new Pay 'n' Park machine here, too.
  • Pay ‘n’ Park machines upgraded to be faster, take credit or debit and EXACT CHANGE.
  • Spirit Drive will re-open for circulation Aug. 21.
  • The lot in front of Wells Fargo Sports Complex, home to the new Engineering Building, only has two parking rows open on the far west end of the lot. When you visit the bookstore for books and gear, don’t try to park here. Next best places? Behind Rasmuson Hall or behind GHH.
  • Parking enforcement begins again Aug. 26 from 7:30 am-7:30 pm M-Th. Parking is always free Fridays and on the weekends.
  • UAA has sufficient parking for demand; perimeter lots (East Lot near Arts and West Lot near Lake Otis Parkway) are consistently underutilized. Pragmatic strategies include parking in one spot for the day and using the Seawolf Shuttle, bikes, footpaths and spines to navigate campus.
  • See ‘Alternatives to driving to campus' below; UAA has good options.
  • Elmore Road with its shiny new roundabout will re-open Sept. 2. Until then, navigate between campus and the dorms:

  • On foot: Walk along Wellness Drive; it has a new sidewalk
  • By car: Get to Tudor, turn north on Elmore
  • By Shuttle

Alternatives to driving to campus
Always free with a Wolf Card.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pedestrians, People Mover stop at Spirit Way/Providence Drive affected by ML&P work

UPDATE Aug. 14, 2013: This work has been halted for now, so we don't anticipate any bus stop or pedestrian disruption as fall semester gets underway. Should that status change, we will update this post.

Municipal Light and Power (ML&P) will conduct work for an unknown duration of time tentatively beginning  this weekend at the intersection of Spirit Way and Providence Drive.

It is unlikely that any vehicular restrictions will apply; however, pedestrian traffic will likely be affected (the People Mover bus stop and sidewalk on the northwest corner of the intersection may be closed).

Any questions or concerns should be director toward Cory Fischer, Assistant Project Manager,, (907) 786-6763.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Elmore closure may require UAA travel detours, Aug. 12–Sept. 2

As part of the construction of UAA's new sports arena, the Alaska Airlines Center, GMC Contracting Inc. will be closing Elmore Road to through traffic between University Lake Drive and Sharon Gagnon Lane beginning Aug. 12. The closure will last until approximately Sept. 2 as crews build a new roundabout intersection and complete underground utility work.

This road closure will not allow for vehicular or pedestrian traffic. Please follow the construction DETOUR signs for alternative routes. See map for closure location.

Elmore Road closure between University Lake Dr. and Sharon Gagnon Ln., Aug. 12–Sept. 2
Piper Street, Dale Street, Lake Otis Parkway and Providence Drive are recommended alternative routes to and from campus and UAA's residential community.

Please plan on giving yourself extra travel time.

For more information, contact GMC Contracting Inc.: (907) 771-7728.

High voltage work on campus

High Voltage
UPDATE (Aug. 7, 2:30 p.m.):  There is a scheduled power outage for the west campus on Friday, Aug. 9, from 6–8 a.m. Affected buildings include:
  • Gordan Hartlieb Hall 
  • Automotive & Diesel Technology
  • Lucy Cuddy Hall
  • Beatrice McDonald Hall
  • Sally Monserud Hall
  • Professional Studies Building
  • Wendy Williamson Auditorium
  • Eugene Short Hall
  • Allied Health Sciences
  • Rasmuson Hall
ML+P will be connecting to the new switch cabinet, see project 2 below. UAA Facilities Maintenance will be on site.

Original post:
There are two separate electrical projects on campus occurring almost simultaneously. There is no scheduled power outage. However, with work on the east campus electrical primary, please be aware there is an elevated chance that an outage may occur due to human error or mechanical failure.

Project 1: Preventative maintenance work on high voltage switchgear A
Dave Cannon with Anvil Corporation has been contracted to do the work, Aug. 6 and 7, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No power outages are expected from this work, though we will need to be on heightened alert that we could experience one. Outages have occurred in the past when this work has been done. They have been brief and do not affect the entire campus but will affect entire buildings.
Should an outage occur the following buildings will be affected:

    •    Social Sciences Building
    •    Energy Module 2
    •    Central Parking Garage
    •    Natural Sciences Building
    •    Engineering Building
    •    Student Union
    •    Campus Bookstore
    •    Wells Fargo Sports Complex
    •    Energy Module 1
    •    ANSEP Building

Project 2: ML+P upgrade of the west campus primary metering and switching cabinet
This project involves the UAA-owned east campus (see building list above) high voltage primary and west campus high voltage primary interface with ML+P just to the west of Rasmuson Hall. Our high voltage system was set up for a seamless power transfer between feeders, so unless something goes wrong, no outage for the East Campus is being planned at this time.

ML+P will be replacing the metering and switch cabinets. To accomplish this, we will be using our east campus switch cabinets to transfer power between our parallel feeders. The intent is to be able to shut off the power so ML+P can remove and adjust the cables. ML+P is currently investigating the job and we expect them to begin the actual work next week. We will issue an update when the work progresses, with planned impacts to West Campus.

Please refer your questions about these projects to Tom Sternberg, CFM, director of Facilities Maintenance and Operations: or (907) 786-6947 (office) or (907) 980-6865 (cell).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ready for that Elmore Road Roundabout?

Roundabout location in yellow.
Stan Vanover, project manager for the Alaska Airlines Center (UAA's big new sports arena), is overseeing the construction of the Elmore Roundabout, to be situated on Elmore Road just past the turn for the University Lake Building along Elmore.

Knowing Alaskans like to get ready for their roundabouts, we checked in with Stan this week to see how plans are coming along. He obliged by creating this schematic that shows exactly where the roundabout will be located. Cornerstone Construction will do the work.

Stan reported that the Alaska DOTPF has officially approved the construction plan and work can now begin. Look for activity to start Monday, July 22, although pedestrian and vehicle traffic won't be affected initially.

Periodic traffic disruptions or road closures will be scheduled for weekends, and we could see one as early as Saturday, July 27.

The projected completion date is  approximately Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Spirit Way sidewalk along UAA Campus Bookstore exterior closed June 24 p.m., expected to re-open Friday, June 28 a.m.

Pedestrians can use the double-line path to continue east.
As Neeser Construction prepares to connect utilities on the new Engineering Industry Building (EIB), the sidewalk along the UAA Campus Bookstore will be temporarily closed from Monday afternoon, June 24, to Friday morning, June 28.

Pedestrians who leave the bookstore can travel east along Spirit Way for a short distance; they will be diverted to a fenced-in route through the construction work site, allowing them to connect again with Spirit Way as it approaches Providence Drive. The double blue lines in the graphic below illustrate the temporary route.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New construction update, June 19, 2013

UAA has an ongoing parking and traffic flow task force, aimed at bringing the best solutions forward as the university grows. That task force will meet throughout the summer and into the fall, and this blog will routinely include their construction and parking updates.

UPDATE: Engineering Industry Building (EIB)

Engineering Industry Building (EIB)
Project lead John Hanson's update:
  • Underground work (storm drains, electrical power, natural gas connections) are moving forward. 
  • Structural steel will start arriving in July and the building will start going up in early August.
  • Connecting water to the new building is not expected to require any water outages to surrounding buildings; if that changes we'll update you here.

UPDATE: Parking Squeeze - adding back spots

Work this summer will include adding 63 parking spots across Providence Drive on the north side of the Health Sciences Building. As HSB students and faculty are able to park closer to their destination, that will free up more spaces in UAA's parking lots on the north side of Providence Drive.

In addition, there is an unloved and unused parking lot on the busy north side of campus where most of UAA is located. That lot is called the North Parking Lot (see below) and it is directly behind Gordon Hartlieb Hall and the Auto Diesel Technology Building. It has been a frequent staging ground for UAA maintenance work, and is often, wrongly, thought to be off limits. It is available, and better yet, the UAA facilities department will be relocating much of its equipment out of this lot to free up 100 parking spaces there in time for fall semester.

North Parking Lot, behind Gordon Hartlieb Hall,  will be getting 100 more spaces.

The task force is also actively pursuing the best location for a new Seawolf Shuttle stop in the North Parking Lot, and also adding a Pay 'n' Park machine. More on both of those developments as the summer progresses.

The parking and traffic task force meets again on July 10. Feel free to post questions or parking ideas on this blog before then.

Coming soon will be updates on the Elmore Roundabout.  Currently, the Alaska DOT is reviewing UAA's plans. Once they give a green light, we will be able to share that plan here, including schematics of the roundabout.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Who was Beatrice McDonald, and what will BMH look like after its "re-do"? And finally, what's the story behind those big rocks in front of the building?

Patricia Baum of Facilities, Planning and Construction (FP&C) is the project manager overseeing the updating and major “re-do” of the Beatrice McDonald Hall (BMH) on the west side of campus, near the Cuddy Quad.  Now that all the departments have moved out, more hard work begins June 24. You’ll notice a fence go up around the building as work begins.

This aerial view of West Campus from May 1970.
Completed in 1970 for the original Anchorage Community College, BMH has long been home to Anthropology, Geology and College Preparatory and Development Studies  (CPDS).

An historical description of the building notes that it once housed foreign languages, vocational teacher education, human services and several science classrooms.

While Anthropology and Geology have relocated temporarily, CPDS’s move is permanent to the Professional Studies Building (PSB). Their departure makes room for the Alaska Natural Heritage Program (formerly located at 707 A Street) to move in when the building is completed in the fall of 2014, with first classes in the building planned for Spring 2015.  Anthropology and Geology will return.

UAA is being assisted on this project by Architects Alaska and Lake View Contracting. Here is an architect’s description of the building and the planned rejuvenation:

The Beatrice McDonald Hall is an existing two story building constructed in 1968 on the University of Alaska campus. The existing building has strong bones in the form of a repeating grid of concrete precast panels, but it has poor natural day lighting, and long, low corridors.

Light from glazed, double height space at building's midpoint.
It also lacks a gathering space for students outside of classrooms. The renovation of this structure will include opening up the interior by means of a glazed, double height space cut into the building at its midpoint.

This ‘slice of light’ will create a well-lit gathering space for students and will invite them to participate in more informal learning with other students and instructors outside of class.

Clusters of comfortable furniture will allow students to interact in small groups. The new gathering area will also include ten wall mounted, four foot by four foot resin panel light boxes that display images or photos connected to the study of nature and culture being carried out by resident faculty and students.
Another view of the "slice of light" atrium.
The influence of the new space will radiate out into the rest of the building by means of bright accent colors in the main corridors and the general replacement of existing finishes with more inviting materials and colors.

Goodbye asbestos
Construction 40 years ago included asbestos, and BMH has plenty of it. Renovation means  removing all of it. While that means workers will be basically gutting the building, Baum repeated that “BMH has good bones,” and the exterior will retain much of the look it has today, with one big exception: the sun-loving atrium that Baum and the architect have dubbed “a slice of light.” It pierces the building just off-center, adding illumination to a structure that has been dark inside for a very long time.

The building will receive substantial upgrades and changes in its architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical systems. It will contain 10 laboratories, an herbarium, a lecture hall and a student gathering space. In addition, there will be six general classrooms serving the university campus-wide.

Baum, as a designer of space, walked BMH and observed its hallways. She noticed students frequently slumped to the floor studying, finding no place but the ground to sit down.

The redesigned BMH will take care of that problem, she says. The new atrium will have clusters of seats allowing students to study in groups or just gather and relax.

Placement of back-lit botanical images.
1% for Art
A 1 Percent for Art call for work is out now for local photographers to provide 10-12 high resolution images of nature that will be mounted on light boxes illuminated from behind by LED lights. According to details provided in the Alaska State Council on the Arts call for work, the art committee is interested in macro photography, photographs of Alaskan plant life, botanical, aquatic or archaeological specimens, or photographs connected to the study of nature and culture from all regions of the state. Proposals for this artwork are due by June 28, 2013.

“We have a building filled with botanists, ecologists and scientists,” Baum said. “We want the art to reflect the nature of their work.”

Who was Beatrice McDonald?
Beatrice McDonald
It hardly seems appropriate to spend this much space talking about a building without reminding our audience who Beatrice McDonald was. The University of Alaska maintains an archive of notable people from all of its campuses. That’s where I found this picture of McDonald, and biographical details. She was an associate professor of office administration when the community college first opened in 1954 as a small adult evening school operating at West High.

A citation honoring her reads:

"Beatrice McDonald, who became the pillar of the school of business since the college was founded, and whose many students are now the competent career women of Anchorage."

After returning to Massachusetts for a master’s degree at Boston University, she returned to Alaska and revised the college’s two-year associate in arts program in office administration.  You can read more about her at her bio page on the UA site

About those big rocks
A story in the Anchorage Daily News from November 27, 1995 offers the history. They are 320 million to 360 million years old! They come from the Red Dog Mine area near Kotzebue, and a junior geology major surveying the mining site came up with the plan to save them and donate them to UAA:

Dan Stone was surveying for the Red Dog Mine near Kotzebue last year when he hatched a plan to save the two ancient rocks.

The black concretions -- compacted mineral masses -- had survived being blasted from a sedimentary rock bed the previous year at Red Dog, the state's largest mine. Mine operators kept them because of their unusual size and shapes, said Gary Coulter, a geologist with Cominco, which operates the lead and zinc mine.

Unlike the oval- and basketball-size concretions normally discovered at the mine, one of the desk-sized rocks is round and the other is peanut-shaped, Coulter said. Each weighs at least 1,400 pounds and is 320 million to 360 million years old, he said.

Last September, the mine decided to push the rocks over an embankment and out of the way.

That's when Stone offered an alternative: Donate them to University of Alaska Anchorage.

''First I called UAA's geology department to see if they were interested in taking them as donations,'' said Stone, a 40-year-old UAA junior studying geology.

''I said, 'Go ahead. It sounds wonderful,' '' recalled geology professor Anne Pasch.

After four months of finagling, Stone secured the rocks for the university. Company officials threw in a 3,200-pound chunk of zinc ore. If refined, the zinc -- which constitutes 18 percent of the chunk -- could be worth up to $25,000, Pasch said.

With Northern Air Cargo donating transportation worth $10,000, Stone had the rocks flown to Anchorage last December. They were kept in storage until three weeks ago.

Now the rocks are settled atop a bed of white granite east of the
Beatrice McDonald Building, the main site for geology classes. The Geology Club is working to get permanent plaques to describe them.

Unusual spectacles to the campus landscape, the quartz concretions are raising curiosity. Many students stand over them wondering what they are, Stone said. ''One guy even kicked the rock shaped like a ball to see if it was real.''

In addition, inquiries are pouring into the university's grounds department, according to grounds supervisor Pat Leary.

Pasch said the concretions make the campus more interesting and inform people about geology.

''It's part of educational outreach,'' she said. ''We'll use them for our own students, but we'll also use it for the general public.''

The rocks are the start of a geological garden the university has contemplated for the past 20 years, Pasch said. Ultimately, the garden will feature specimens from around the state.

Blocks of jade and old mining equipment would be nice, Stone said, or maybe the couch-size concretion found recently at the mine. ''Who knows,'' he said, ''getting the mine to donate that one may be my project for next year.''

Juneteenth event closes motorcycle parking briefly on June 18-19

Motorcycle parking outside WFSC closed from 5 p.m. June 18 through all day June 19

Motorcycle parking outside of the Wells Fargo Sports Complex will be unavailable after 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 and through Wednesday, June 19, because this space is utilized for food booths during UAA's annual Juneteenth celebration that takes place in this area.

With the construction in South Lot, motorcycle riders should please park in surrounding areas, including the Sports Lot, West Campus Central, or any other available space. Thank you for your consideration during the Juneteenth event, and join us for this annual fun day at UAA, including food, music and conversation outside on the grass.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Welcome to UAA's New Construction blog

Click on this map to see a larger version.
UAA is growing and changing, and sometimes that progress requires us to adjust routines to accommodate interim developments.

In this blog, we aim to provide easy access to information about what construction is happening on campus and the best way to navigate any disruptions.

You can subscribe to an RSS feed from the blog and then you'll automatically get email updates when new information is posted. Or, you are welcome to visit here and watch the construction unfold.

First, here is a graphic that lists all the current construction projects going on at UAA. We will focus on changes at the Anchorage campus. To download a copy of the PDF click here or click on the map to view a larger online version.


What's going on in front of WFSC?

Maybe you were too busy with finals and the end of school to catch the news about the new engineering building. Here is an update from early May that covers the new construction site in front of the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

New School of Engineering and Industry Building drawing.
On Friday, May 10,  Neeser Construction began using the South Parking Lot for construction of the new School of Engineering and Industry Building. You should expect to experience some delays in the normal course of parking near the Bookstore or WFSC Buildings.

Spirit Way will be closed (East-West) from the western building entrance of Wells Fargo Sports Complex to the eastern boundary of South Parking Lot.

Spirit Way (North-South) will remain open for access to the Bookstore, GSS and Student Union. The Wells Fargo Sports Complex and Tanaina Child Development Center can be accessed via Seawolf Drive.

Limited parking will be available on the west side of South Parking Lot; this will only be accessible via Seawolf Drive.

Employees are encouraged to park on the north side of Rasmuson Hall and the northwest side of the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

Be alert to new pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns. Heavy equipment and tractor-trailers will be frequenting the site, so please be aware of your surroundings.

For safety concerns related to this project, please contact John Hanson at UAA Facilities, Planning & Construction (907) 786-4900. Download a PDF of the information flyer here.