Contract for 1st phase of Capitol work approved

Lowest bidders, Alaska Commercial Contractors

A joint committee of state legislators unanimously approved a $1.72 million contract with Juneau-based Alaska Commercial Contractors Inc. for the first phase of planned seismic retrofitting and renovations at the Alaska State Capitol Tuesday morning.

The Legislative Council approved a design contract with Juneau architectural firm Jensen Yorba Lott Inc. last December for the project, which company President Wayne Jensen has said may span four summers. Its approval of the construction contract with Alaska Commercial Contractors paves the way for work on the Capitol entryway and crawl space to begin this summer, after the Legislature concludes its work for the year.

Don Johnston, building manager for the Legislative Affairs Agency, said the renovation work will be done to “replicate the original construction of the building,” with sandstone and other building materials that cannot be restored being used as a reference for replacement materials.

In response to a question from Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, chairman of the Legislative Council, Johnston confirmed he is comfortable with having the work done by Alaska Commercial Contractors, the lowest bidder.

“I believe that this is the right contractor and a good price,” Johnston said. He added that he has been pleased with Alaska Commercial Contractors’ work in the past.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, asked how people will access the building while crews are working on the portico, the marble columns of which will undergo structural work as part of the project.

“The main entrance will be accessible, as long as they’re not performing any overhead work,” Johnston said.

Efforts will be made to keep that entrance open as much as possible throughout this summer’s work, he said.

The Legislative Council also gave the nod to two smaller renovation projects in the capital city.

Douglas-based North Pacific Erectors Inc. was awarded a $73,835 contract for a designated smoking area behind the Capitol.

“Just wondering, Mr. Chairman — in the best interest of the legislators who smoke, it might be best to just buy a bunch of anti-smoking patches instead,” Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, quipped during discussion of the project.

Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, said he wants to see health risks from second-hand smoke reduced.

That contract was approved without objection.

A change order worth $201,578 for asbestos abatement as part of work on the State Office Building was also approved.

The building, now known as the Alaska State Capitol, was completed in 1931. Since that time, the building’s masonry has deteriorated somewhat, with chips in the sandstone facade at ground level clearly visible from in front of the building.

In addition to renovating the building’s exterior, the project also includes a planned seismic retrofit to ensure the building is able to withstand the earthquakes that are not uncommon in the region.

The next phase of work is expected to take place across the summers of 2014, 2015 and possibly 2016, Jensen Yorba Lott indicated Tuesday.

Second phase work is set to go out to bid during next year’s legislative session, according to an April 6 memorandum from LAA Executive Director Pamela Varni to Johnston attached as one of the Legislative Council meeting documents.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 586-1821 or at


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