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State Acquires Building to House Geologic Materials Center

July 2, 2013, Anchorage, AK – The Alaska Department of Administration closed on a property with Second Berkshire Properties, LLC and acquired the Debarr Sam's Club warehouse to house the new Geological Materials Center (GMC). The facility is located at 3651 Penland Parkway in east Anchorage next to the Northway Mall.  Sam’s Club will be moving to the Tikahtnu Commons.

As part of this agreement, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has contributed $2.5 million to the purchase to support educational opportunities for students and universities visiting to research material samples.  “Walmart and Sam’s Club are proud to support educational initiatives like the new Geologic Materials Center and we are pleased to work with the state on this public-private partnership that will help the communities we serve live better,” said Sean Mehranbod, the Sam’s Club Regional Vice President for Alaska.

The state purchased the Sam’s Club building for $16.125 million.  Renovations to the facility include upgrading the concrete slab and heavy-duty shelving to accommodate the samples, private viewing rooms, staff and public spaces are estimated to be $5 million.  The original construction cost for a new build GMC building was estimated at around $45 million.  The Governor included $15 million in his capital budget, which the legislature approved this last session for the purchase of the Anchorage property. 

“The purchase of this existing facility saves the state money when compared to the cost of new construction, opens the GMC a years ahead of schedule and, with some updates, will better meet the operational needs of the many user groups while providing greater access to the public,” said Administration Commissioner Becky Hultberg. 

The GMC is currently located in Eagle River and consists of 30,000 square feet of small buildings and connexes with around 77,000 cubic feet of samples.  63% of the collection is housed in non-climate controlled containers causing sample degradation and access issues.  The current cramped and hap-hazard collection is around 85% full and the facility will be at capacity within three years.

The new location will offer 100,550 square feet of warehouse storage on palletized, organized shelving and will utilize the building's existing loading docks for delivery of additional core samples. Viewing rooms will be provided for interested parties examination of the collection.  The larger space will accommodate decades of sample growth, research and climate-controlled preservation.

"This will provide significantly improved access to Alaska’s rich repository of mineral and material knowledge and archive it in a modern research facility" said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan. "The GMC will be an investment magnet that will help to increase activity in the minerals and oil and gas sector. It will catalyze new research, foster job growth, and increase state revenue through responsible development of the State’s vast resource endowment.”

Architectural and Engineering design work will be completed while the building is being used by Sam’s Club during the transition period. This advanced work will ensure the additional occupancy and public availability will proceed as soon as the space is available in late fall.  Samples from the Eagle River location will be transported to the new facility in spring 2014 with an opening date for the new facility slated for summer 2014.

“We’re excited at the news of this advancement in the GMC schedule and look forward to establishing the new GMC as a center of educational and research excellence,” remarked,  Bob Swenson, DNR Director of Geological & Geophysical Surveys.

For questions please contact the Department of Administration at 907-465-2200.

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