|  August 30, 2014  |  
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Access Alaska Celebrates New Facility With Open House

Bezek Durst Seiser (BDS) and Criterion General instrumental in creating unique, functional space 
 
A new home uniquely suited to help Alaskans with disabilities and seniors move toward or maintain independence: that is what Access Alaska’s new facility is all about. The building is now a perfect match for the non-profit, whose mission is to encourage and promote people who experience a disability to integrate into the community of their choice. 
 
BDS, an architecture and planning firm, redesigned the building, located at 1217 East 10th Avenue in Anchorage, with the needs of Access Alaska’s clients in mind. Criterion General constructed the design plans perfectly. 
 
Access Alaska Executive Director, Jim Beck, smiles every day when he walks into his new digs. “It is amazing when your surroundings help you achieve your goals. We want to help Alaskans with disabilities and our seniors live comfortably on their own terms. This building really helps us open that door; BDS and Criterion have done an amazing job.” 
 
BDS Principal, Eric Spangler, knew BDS had the right qualifications to help Access Alaska to realize its vision and help meet its mission. “When the client’s mission, design, function and aesthetics come together, like they have here, it makes a great space. This building is filled with natural light and provides ease of use for the Access Alaska staff and clients. It is exciting to see people enjoying this new building.” 
 
Three key ideas are incorporated into the design of the new office space. First, it is a modern, open space that creates a more collaborative work environment. Second, it reflects Access Alaska’s advocacy focus and the organization’s goal of empowering people with disabilities. Finally, it is a showcase of Universal Design (buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to all) that could become a model for offices around the state of Alaska. 
 
Criterion General Vice President, Kyle Scalis, enjoys walking through the office. “We are proud that we could help with this project. It gives us great satisfaction to see people in the Access Alaska Anchorage office soaking up the new surroundings and using many of the facility’s unique features.” 
 
Supporters and benefactors of the new design include the State of Alaska, the Rasmuson Foundation, the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, The Foraker Group, and First National Bank. One of the biggest backers of the new design is the Rasmuson Foundation.
 
“We are fortunate to have an organization like Access Alaska capably providing reliable, high-impact services for people with disabilities,” said Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan. “This new facility will provide much needed space for their independent living program and group activities.”
 

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