The new natural sciences building for the SAMU is underway

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ABISB foundation completed before work on the steel structure. (Courtesy of Kristin Reynolds)

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

Chancellor Karen Carey said, “The new building will allow our faculty to be housed together and allow them to collaborate in 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 towards completion.

The building is expected to be completed 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 soil ecology lab with an adjoining clean room, and a forest ecology/glaciology/geophysics lab with an adjoining dry room.

Storage spaces, such as the freezer room, chemical storage, and research storage room, will help keep supplies organized and within easy reach.

In addition to labs and storage spaces, the new building will also house a 40-student classroom, several faculty members, open workspace, and collaboration space, among other things.

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

Design approval was obtained in 2018.

Site preparation was completed in the fall of 2019.

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

The $16.1 million project is funded by existing capital funds, UAS building renewal and renovation reserves, proceeds from the sale of the administrative services/bookstore building, proceeds from installation fees of the Juneau campus mandated by the Board of Regents and the internal reallocation of operating budget funds.

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

ABISB will be a 12,000 square foot teaching and laboratory building on two levels.

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

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

This Halloween, UAS held a “Sign the Beam” event. Following the tradition of ironworkers signing the final structural beam, students, staff, faculty, community members and construction team members signed the final steel structural beam. After signing, it was installed in its place atop the steel structure of ABISB, marking the completion of the structural part of the build.

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