Facility repurposing high on regents agenda

Jeremia Schrock / Sun Star Reporter
May 26, 2011

Between June 1-3 the University of Alaska Board of Regents (BOR) will meet in Fairbanks for their third meeting this year.

The BOR, which has scheduled five meetings for 2011, will discuss a wide-range of topics affecting UAF.

Several of these topics include the approval of a planned retrofit of the Atkinson Heat and Power Plant, the construction of a new dining hall and student housing, the re-purposing of both the Lola Tilly Commons and Constitution Hall, and an update on the proposed construction of the UAF Engineering Facility.

The Atkinson Heat and Power Plant, which was built in 1964, provides heat, light and water to the UAF campus. The regents will discuss both a retrofit and a potential addition to the 45-year-old building. An estimated retrofit would cost $40 million while a building addition would cost between $140-$180 million. The proposed addition would allow UAF to replace the power plants boilers and turbine while reducing the number of improvements needed at the existing plant. Both the improvements and an addition would be completed by 2017.

The board will discuss plans for constructing a new dining facility to replace the Lola Tilly Commons. According to the boards official agenda, the Commons is “outdated, inefficient and located too far from a majority of…freshmen.” The Lola Tilly would be repurposed to act as the student welcome center and bookstore. The project would cost between $7.5-$9 million with completion scheduled for spring 2013.

The regents will also discuss the construction of additional housing (approximately 500 new beds) for upper division and graduate students. The project would cost between $12-$15 million and be completed by fall 2013.

Also on the agenda is the potential re-purposing of Constitution Hall for student clubs. Constitution Hall currently houses the Alumni Office, bookstore and the college radio station KSUA. The repurposing would be completed by summer/fall 2013, but an estimated cost has not yet been provided.

The BOR will hear an update from Ira Fink & Associates, a national university consulting firm, on the design completion and construction of the UAF Engineering Facility. The firm will have approximately a year to develop a design for the new building with the BOR expecting to approve a design sometime in 2012. Since the plan is still in the development stage, neither cost of construction, site or time line is available.

The BOR will convene in Room 109 of the Butrovich Building for public testimony at 10:00 a.m. on June 2 and 9:00 a.m. on June 3.

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