New Natural Sciences Building for UAS is underway

    ABISB foundation completed prior to work on steel structure. (Courtesy of Kristin Reynolds)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Auke Bay Integrated Science Building (ABISB) aims to create a new home for teaching and research associated with UAS’ distinctive marine-oriented environmental and interdisciplinary science programs.

    Chancellor Karen Carey noted, “The new building will allow our faculty to be housed together and allow them to collaborate on their research and teaching. We have waited a long time for this building to come to fruition and we are very excited as it continues toward completion.”

    The building should be finished in time for Spring 2024 classes. The building will house several new and upgraded educational spaces. There will be hands-on learning labs, including a water and soils ecology lab with an attached clean room, and a forest ecology/glaciology/geophysics lab with an attached dry room.

    Storage spaces, such as the freezer room, chemical storage, and research storage room, will help keep supplies organized and on hand.

    In addition to lab and storage spaces, the new building will also house a 40-student classroom, several faculty officers, an open workspace, and a collaboration space, among others.

    The development of the building began in 2016, followed by the acquisition of the property in 2017.

    Design approval was met in 2018.

    Site preparation was completed in the fall of 2019.

    After a delay due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction began early this year.

    The $16.1 million project is funded through existing building capital funds, UAS building renewal and renovation reserves, proceeds from the sale of the Admin Services/Bookstore building, proceeds from the Board of Regents-mandated Juneau Campus Facility Fee, and internal reallocation of operating budget funds.

    Phase I of the project, consisting of demolition and site preparation, has already been completed under budget.

    The ABISB will be a 12,000-square-foot, two-level teaching and laboratory building.

    With the demolition of the 60-year-old lab and three out-buildings, the new building has a smaller footprint, better allowing students to enjoy the natural surroundings of the Auke Bay waterfront.

    The Natural Science building will be located near the main UAS campus, and allow for enhanced learning.

    This Halloween, UAS held a "Sign the Beam" event. Following in ironworking tradition to sign the final structural beam, students, staff, faculty, community members, and construction crew members signed the final structural steel beam. After the signing, it was installed in its place atop the steel structure of the ABISB, marking the completion of the structural portion of the build.

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