New UAS building halfway to completion

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2002

One year from now, going to class at the University of Alaska Southeast will be a whole new experience.

The $8 million, 25,000-square-foot classroom addition to Egan Library is about halfway to completion, with exterior and structural work largely done and interior work set to begin. The building should be completed by year-end and open when classes begin in January 2003.

UAS Chancellor John Pugh and Facilities Director Keith Gerken took Juneau Chamber of Commerce members on a tour of the building Monday. When finished, the addition will provide 17 classrooms, including a 150-seat auditorium; many will have sound and visual projection equipment.

"We're going to have a core of more modern classrooms that are compactly located," Gerken said.

That new space will allow the campus' marginal classrooms - including small, conference-type rooms - to be converted to much-needed faculty office space, Gerken said.

While creating more and improved classroom space is a major goal of the project, the new building also will provide indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for the campus community.

"UAS does not have what's traditionally known as a student union, a place for hanging out," Pugh said. "What this building will do is (create) enough space to put in seating areas for downtime between classes."

Gerken said those areas will include a coffee bar and larger gathering place on the second floor, as well as wider hallways that can accommodate seating. A landscaped outdoor courtyard between the addition and the Mourant Building will provide a gathering point in good weather.

Groundbreaking for the addition took place last March. Since then, Coogan Construction of Juneau has been building the structure and shell of the addition. Final inspections of its work will take place later this month. After that, the contractor for interior work - yet to be selected - will begin work. Additional contracts for landscaping and a new tier of parking will be awarded later this year. At this point, Gerken said, the project is on budget.

The addition was designed by Jensen Yorba Lott of Juneau, which also designed the original library building, which opened in 1990. Gerken said the addition was included in the library's long-term plans, and the two phases merged well.

"They looked ahead pretty well," he said. "The heat comes off the boiler in Egan Library ... and as you see from the outside, you can't even tell it's an addition."

Andrew Krueger can be reached at

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