SOB's dirty face to get a good washing

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2001

The concrete and glass exterior of the State Office Building is about to get its first bath in nine years.

A $396,246 cleaning contract was awarded earlier this week to North Pacific Erectors, said Larry White, facilities manager for the division of General Services, part of the state Department of Administration.

The State Office Building, otherwise known as the SOB, is one of downtown Juneau's most prominent fixtures, located between Willoughby Avenue and Calhoun Avenue where it becomes Fourth Street. Its construction spanned a period between 25 and 30 years ago, White said, and the intention for the future is to wash it about every four or five years.

The tentative start date for the cleaning is June 25. Weather may interfere, but cleaning of the 80,000-square-foot exterior with its 296 windows should take about 120 days.

The building is set into the side of a hill, rising 11 stories from Willoughby Avenue, and five from Calhoun - making safety equipment an important factor in awarding the contract, White said.

"There may be some points in time when crews are working directly over a sidewalk when there might have to be rerouting of foot traffic, but generally the cleaning will not diminish access" to the building, he said.

The exterior is a semiporous surface of concrete, concrete relief and warm stone, the term for concrete where aggregate shows through. The surface has been stained by a number of sources, including wind-borne dirt and contaminants, dust and "the moss that tends to grow mightily in this area," White said.

After the surface is cleaned, sealant will be applied to keep future moisture and dirt from penetrating, allowing the building to shed undesirable acquaintances, he added.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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