Wood Center dog house ensures student safety


The small building outside the Wood Center was sprayed with water to check if it had any leaks or nSam Allen/ Sun Star

By Anessia Hubler

Sun Star Reporter

The small structure outside the front steps of the Wood Center, affectionately called the dog house by UAF employees and students, was built with the intention of being a new fire escape route for the Wood Center’s downstairs offices.

It recently received a bath.

“We wanted to make sure there were no leaks in the building so it wouldn’t flood when the snow melted, so we took a firehose and flooded the area surrounding the building,”Contract Manager for UAF Design and Construction, Leighton Nunez said. They found one small leak in a corner where a joint was not caulked due to the thickness of the walls, “that was an easy fix, just caulk it up and you’re good to go,” Nunez said.

The Wood Center roof was extended during the recent expansion, resulting in the placement of a new support beam. The support beam is where the old stair well for the fire escape had been.

“No one could tell what the old one was [the escape route], it was just a set of stairs that led to a locked door,” Nunez said.

While building the new fire escape route, the builders tried to mimic the look of the light well on top of the Wood Center.

“The light well is made of Bronze glass that lets natural light into the Wood Center so that there is less need for artificial light, which saves not only money but also electricity,”Nunez said.

In mimicking the light well, the builders wound up giving the new escape route an odd dog-house-esque shape.

The dog house is not only used as an escape route, but as a general storage system for the Wood Center as well.

“They store everything down there from tables to decorations,” Nunez said.

Along with it’s use for miscellaneous storage, it also houses the pavement heating system.

“We have done heating under the pavement in other areas before, but it has yet to be very successful for various reasons, so we are trying a new way,”Director of UAF Design and Construction, Jenny Campbell said.

Facilities services runs ethylene glycol filled tubing below the pavement which gives off enough heat to melt the ice and snow right outside the front of the Wood Center.

“It looks like its been working, it melted all the ice and snow that has fallen so far this year,” Nunez said.

Most students have noticed that there’s no access to the dog house from the outside.

“It’s locked from the inside so that people can’t get in,” Campbell said.

This helps to ensure that the dog house remains an easy exit in case of an emergency, and also keeps people from tampering with the heating system.


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