Building: Three major building projects well under way in 2005

Bartlett hospital expansion, NOAA research lab and a new high school top the list

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2004

By the end of next year, Juneau residents should see the exteriors of a big addition to Bartlett Regional Hospital and a fisheries research center at Lena Point.

Motorists will learn to use a new roundabout at the Douglas end of the Douglas Bridge. The new high school at Dimond Park will be a concrete foundation by yearend 2005, but the site should be ready for construction of the building.

Other planned projects, such as a state university fisheries center at Lena Point and the expansion of a residence hall, will exist only on paper.

A year from now the foundation, steel structure, walls and roof should be up at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute at Lena Point, said John Gorman, program manager in Juneau for the project for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 69,000-square-foot center will mostly replace the NOAA lab at Auke Bay. The center is scheduled to be occupied in January 2007.

The agency this fall awarded a construction contract to the Portland, Ore., firm of J.E. Dunn. The company will work with architects Livingston Slone of Anchorage on the final design details, with an eye to saving money. Steel, for example, whose price is rising, could be ordered early in tandem with production of the relevant architectural drawings.

When the design is 90 percent complete, Dunn will give NOAA a firm cost for the construction. NOAA has budgeted $31 million for construction from a total $51 million budget.

"A year from now there should be a building sitting there," Gorman said. "It will be largely empty."

The University of Alaska Fairbanks, whose School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences has a center in Juneau, still plans to build an academic and research center at Lena Point.

But because the Legislature has awarded $11.5 million, only about half what is needed, the university will build the center is two phases.

The first phase likely will be designed in 2005, but construction probably won't begin until 2006.

The first phase, at 18,420 square feet, will replace the current space in the Anderson Building, near the University of Alaska Southeast campus. The Anderson Building then could be used by the University of Alaska Southeast as a science building.

UAS is seeking an architect to design a roughly 45-bed addition to Banfield Hall, a freshman residence hall, said facilities director Keith Gerken.

"We have more freshmen that want housing than can fit in there, and a lot of our growth in enrollment has been in traditional-age students," he said.

But, Gerken said, "a year from now it's probably not going to look any different than it does today."

The university will use operating funds to bring the design to a schematic level by about April, at which point the real costs will be known. The school then would need to borrow money to complete the design and build the addition.

The first phase of the expansion of Bartlett Regional Hospital should be quite noticeable from Egan Drive by late 2005. Coogan Construction of Juneau holds the $24.3 million contract.

The addition is three stories with a fourth-story penthouse that supports a heliport. Along with the expansion of the hospital's boiler room, the work will add 58,000 square feet.

The ground floor will hold the emergency department and the imaging department. The second floor will house the intensive-care unit and the obstetrics unit, and the third floor will contain the mental health unit and mechanical rooms.

The work will be about 80 percent completed, including the exterior shell, by the end of 2005, said Rod Wilson, the city's project manager.

The addition's exterior will be dramatically different from the rest of the hospital.

"It's a combination of metal siding and expansive areas of glass and exposed concrete," Wilson said.

The state Department of Transportation will widen, realign and repave Glacier Highway for 6.4 miles between Tee Harbor and Amalga Harbor in a $10 million project, said Pat Kemp, the agency's regional preconstruction engineer. By the end of 2005, it should be three-quarters done, he said.

The work will add shoulders to the road, which should improve safety for cyclists, and trailhead parking at Peterson Creek, Herbert River and just past Eagle Beach.

Part of Mendenhall Loop Road, Douglas Highway from the bridge to Douglas, and the bridge itself will be repaved.

Construction of the $2 million roundabout on Douglas Island will start in the spring and should be finished in October, Kemp said. It's not a high-speed, large-diameter traffic circle.

Motorists will enter the roundabout on right turns and drive at 15 to 20 mph, said Chris Morrow, the Southeast director of construction, maintenance and operations for DOT.

That should eliminate that sort of accidents that have been occurring as vehicles are struck from the side when drivers try to make left turns from North Douglas Highway, he said.

• Eric Fry can be reached at eric.fry@juneauempire.com.

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