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How much does UAS value its freshmen?

Prime view property selected for new $8 million dormitory project on campus

Posted: July 17, 2012 - 11:03pm
The view from the Noyes Pavillion on the University of Alaska, Southeast, campus taken on Tuesday. A new freshman residence hall will be built next to the Pavillion and will share the view toward the Mendenhall Glacier.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
The view from the Noyes Pavillion on the University of Alaska, Southeast, campus taken on Tuesday. A new freshman residence hall will be built next to the Pavillion and will share the view toward the Mendenhall Glacier.

Some of the best views in town will soon be going to some of its poorest residents: college freshmen.

The University of Alaska Southeast has picked one of the highest points on its picturesque campus for its new dorm, next to the Noyes Pavilion. That location will give the residents there, who are intended to be incoming freshmen, views of the campus, Auke Lake, the Mendenhall Glacier, and even the Mendenhall Towers and other mountains when the weather is agreeable.

“It’s going to have some gorgeous views in that direction, it’s high up there,” said Keith Gerken, director of Facilities Services for the school.

“It’s a postcard kind of view,” he said.

The Juneau campus needs more student housing, which the Legislature has provided $8 million to build.

It was originally thought the additional capacity would come from adding 60 beds to the existing Banfield Hall, but the new plan is to build an entirely new dormitory much closer to the center of campus. That will place it close enough to the current Mourant Building’s dining facilities that it saves the expense of building a new kitchen.

The site next to Noyes was selected after study of several sites around campus, including near the new U.S. Forest Service laboratory building and on an existing parking lot.

The decision on location was made by the school’s executive cabinet, and was approved by Chancellor John Pugh, he said.

After reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of all the sites, there was a general consensus that the location next to Noyes Pavilion was the clear favorite, Gerken said.

Final approval for the project still has to come from the University of Alaska Board of Regents, and will be sought at its September meeting. That meeting will be held in Juneau.

While the new dorm’s windows on the campus side will have excellent views, those on the back of the building will have a forested, wooded view,” he said.

Views there of Auke Bay would open up if the property below the dorm is developed and trees removed, but Gerken said there are no plans to do that.

Gerken said he was unaware of any plans to charge extra for the rooms with the views.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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