A breakdown of UAF's future construction plans

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
February 19, 2013

It seems like UAF just keeps announcing plans for new buildings.  So what exactly is going to be built, knocked down or relocated?  And what’s happening this spring and what’s in the works for the future?  Here’s the breakdown.

First of all, the Life Sciences Building was recently named the Margaret Murie building by the UA Board of Regents.  The project has been talked about for years, and the funding for construction was received in November 2010.  Construction started early that spring, and the building will open in the fall for classes.

Additionally, UAF is planning on constructing another new academic building.  Both UAA and UAF have plans for new engineering buildings on their respective campuses.  According to the Anchorage Daily News, UAF’s engineering college has nearly doubled in size since 2006, however staff, faculty and students have been working out of the same offices and classrooms since 1964.

UAF’s new engineering building will be behind Duckering and Bunnell, where there is currently a parking lot.  The three buildings will be connected to one another, and construction started this October when some utilities were moved.  Groundbreaking is scheduled for March 1, according to the News-Miner, but could be delayed at both UAA and UAF if the legislature fails to approve funding for the project.

Renovations to the Wood Center are also being pushed to move forward as quickly as possibly.  Staff housed in the Wood Center Office Suites will be moved out the day after commencement when construction will begin.  The Wood Center will be remodeled to include more space in the upstairs dining area where there will be a full cafeteria for students will meal plans.  It is currently unclear where organizations in the Wood Center offices will go or what will happen to the Lola Tilly Commons.  Construction on the Wood Center should be finished by next December.

This is where we start getting into the more murky construction plans.

UAF recently announced plans for a new power plant.  The project manager submitted a request to the Legislature to design the plant, and expects it to be approved before April.  Once that happens, plans will be drawn up and a cost will be worked out, probably around $245 million, and UAF will approach the Legislature for money to replace the half-century old power plant.  A new plant is probably years out, but we’re moving in the right direction.

There are also plans floating around about building three new dorms on Copper Lane.  Nothing is very official about these dorms yet, they’re probably years and years out.  But UAF does need more on campus housing.  The future dorms will be connected to one another and the Wood Center, so students can walk to breakfast without walking outside.  It is currently unclear where the programs housed on Copper Lane will end up.

And finally, there are rumors floating around about eventually moving all of the student organizations into Constitution Hall.  When the cafeteria moves to the Wood Center, the Tilly will be vacant.  Hypothetically, the bookstore will move down to the Commons, and ASUAF and The Sun Star will move above the post office.  This tidbit is based purely on eavesdropping on important-sounding conversations, but the original intention was that Constitution Hall would be a building specifically for student organizations.

Regardless, all of these plans are going to take time and patience.  One thing we can confirm is that it’s going to be a frustrating summer to be on campus with all the construction going on.

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1 Response

  1. Vincent Valenti says:

    For clarification the groundbreaking for the new Engineering Facility is currently scheduled for March 30, 2013. The source for this date was inaccurate.

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