UAF Engineering Facility

UAF Engineering Facility

Start Date: 8/2012
Completion Date: 12/2017
Owner: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Project Manager: Carl Swanson and Jon Bush
Project Superintendent: Randall Kramer
Project Engineer: Jason Lindsey and Pete Clements

During 2013, the university and Davis Constructors and Engineers, Inc. (DCE) broke ground on a $121 million state-of-the-art engineering facility designed by ECI/Hyer Architecture and Interiors of Anchorage. The gleaming six-story, 119,000-square-foot structure was designed to have a commanding view of the Tanana Valley and the Alaska Range to the south. Nested between the Duckering and Bunnell buildings on the east side of campus, the Engineering Learning and Innovation Facility has a distinctive curved glass and steel exterior and is designed to provide forty laboratories, a forty-eight -foot high-bay testing facility, offices, and classrooms. One classroom was designed large enough to seat the entire incoming freshman class in one ES101 session.  Additionally, the contract provided for 30,000 sf of renovated educational space.  The new Engineering building was located in a challenging area, literally squeezed between two existing buildings and built up and over the top and all sides of an existing auditorium.

The Engineering Learning and Innovation Facility (ELIF) was partially funded by the Alaska Legislature in 2012 to bolster the number of engineers educated in-state and continued to receive piecemeal support through 2014. Originally envisioned as a single-phase project, the Engineering Facility was ultimately broken into two phases due to unanticipated funding shortfalls in spring 2015. The Legislature was expected to fund the entirety of the building, but when state oil revenue took a plunge, so did the Legislature’s will to complete the project. The building shell, along with critical infrastructure and some building finishes, were completed in the prior to work shutdown in Fall 2015. The project team at that time focused on maximizing available funding and completing critical components to protect the building during an undermined construction shutdown period.

New funding was committed in May 2016, Davis was engaged by July, construction costs negotiated by October and work started in November. Design work was updated as needed and long lead procurement was undertaken in the summer and fall of 2016. Davis was given a year to finish the interior spaces of this complex and technical project.  We finished on-time and on-budget.

A high level of coordination and involvement of all project stakeholders was necessary due to the multiple funding issues and high levels of building complexity. Davis Constructors was able to complete the project on time, within the budget and, most importantly, without compromising or diminishing the environment for student learning. As a construction leader in Alaska, it is imperative that we retain the best and brightest students’ in-state.