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Discovering Excellence in Engineering

Feb 5, 2019 | Architecture, Engineering, Magazine

2019 Project of the Year Submissions

We are proud to once again present a glimpse at this year’s Engineering Excellence Project of the Year Awards. The winners of this esteemed award will be announced during Engineer’s Week 2019 occurring February 17 through 23. Congratulations to all the nominees.

AMC Engineers—Engineering Learning and Innovation Facility

UAF Engineering Learning & Innovation Facility.

© Ken Graham | AMC Engineers

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) opened its new Engineering Learning and Innovation Facility for the Spring 2018 Semester. This contemporary, 119,000-square-foot, $121.6 million facility is situated and forms a connection between two existing buildings.
The facility’s design begins with a high performance building envelope, specifically designed for the Southcentral Alaska climate. Window placement, skylights, glass walls, and sophisticated lighting and lighting controls create a high energy vibrant feel in a place where natural sunlight is scarce much of the school year.

The facility’s design begins with a high performance building envelope, specifically designed for the Southcentral Alaska climate. Window placement, skylights, glass walls, and sophisticated lighting and lighting controls create a high energy vibrant feel in a place where natural sunlight is scarce much of the school year.

The building’s central HVAC systems are specifically designed to take full advantage of the low-pressure steam, 100 degree Fahrenheit waste heat, and 42 degree Fahrenheit chilled water provided from the UAF campus power plant.

The HVAC systems serving the thirty laboratory suites and high bay structural testing lab include heat exchangers to extract and reuse heat from the laboratory exhaust air steams. Radiant floor heating and cooling provide stable baseline indoor temperature throughout the building.

Waste heat from mechanical/electrical/server rooms, refrigeration system condensers, and numerous other heat sources is captured through a waste heat recovery loop, providing first stage preheat to the building’s outside intake air. Waste heat from the central plant provides second stage preheat, limiting the demand for central plant steam heat.

Key building system components are displayed through observation windows, while large monitors display real-time building energy usage.

The building design also includes a highly flexible power distribution system and telecom distribution system to simplify future revisions to the building.

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BBFM Engineers—Bartlett High School Cafeteria Addition

Bartlett High School Cafeteria Addition.

© Kevin G. Smith | BBFM

BBFM Engineers designed the first innovative bolted SidePlate moment frame structure in the state of Alaska. When Bartlett High School opened in the fall of 1973, it included Begich Junior High. Therefore, there were two separate cafeterias with separate kitchens. When it became solely a high school, neither cafeteria was large enough to hold the entire school. After many years of trying to make this work, a study was done to evaluate adding seating to one cafeteria, expanding the cafeteria into the kitchen and adding a new kitchen, or providing an entirely new cafeteria and kitchen at the juncture of the east wing and the administrative area.

The decision was to provide an entirely new cafeteria rather than try to force an existing cafeteria to work. It was decided early on to use the new bolted moment frame system, as it allowed for an unblocked view out of the exterior windows. BBFM Engineers worked with SidePlate through the three different versions of the structure: a structure with a partial second floor for the mechanical room, one with a lower roof for the mechanical equipment, and a single-story structure with the mechanical room on the roof. All three versions had a low roof segment along the east wing to allow daylight into the existing second story classroom windows. The structure was fabricated in two local shops and quickly erected without extensive special inspection required by welded lateral load resisting systems.

DOWL—Glenn Highway/Muldoon Road Interchange

Glenn Highway/Muldoon Road Interchange.

© Ken Graham | DOWL

The Glenn Highway/Muldoon Road Interchange was originally constructed in the 1970s. Recent commercial and institutional growth on the north side of the interchange created a large increase in north and southbound traffic along Muldoon Road through the interchange, which led to congestion and an increase in the frequency of crashes.

Two acceptable interchange upgrade alternatives were identified through preliminary engineering efforts. The Diverging Dimond Interchange was selected because it is more cost effective, performs at a higher level-of-service, and allowed the existing bridge to stay in place as replacements are constructed.

The project replaced the former Muldoon Road Bridge over Glenn Highway with two, three-lane bridges. The project also increased pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, improved ditches and drainage, and relocated and constructed utilities.

Services included all preconstruction efforts to complete this jointly funded state and federal project. Major elements of the project included two new three-lane-wide, two-span bridges; 1,500 feet of 36-inch water main relocation; noise walls; landscaping; pedestrian facilities; signalization; high mast lighting; geotechnical engineering; and foundation design. Bid-ready plans were completed in August 2015, less than thirty months from when the project was initiated. Construction started spring 2016 and was completed fall 2018.

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Lounsbury & Associates—Spenard Road Reconstruction Phase II, Hillcrest Drive to Benson Boulevard

Aerial view of Spenard Road Reconstruction.

© Peyton Briggs | Lounsbury & Associates

Spenard Road from Hillcrest Drive to Benson Boulevard in Anchorage was previously a roadway with frequent safety incidents due to turning traffic and inadequate sidewalks for pedestrians. Designed as Anchorage’s first “Complete Street,” this reconstructed segment of roadway to has enabled safe access for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists.

Design elements included eight-foot sidewalks, marked crosswalks, five-foot bike lanes, a center left-turn lane, and bus stops with amenities. In order to grow the sense of community and favor for the project, designers worked with property owners to take improvements to the front door of the businesses. Other additions include off-street parking, LED lighting, landscaping, and art features that reflect the spirit of Spenard and make the corridor more inviting and attractive for patrons and local businesses.

To minimize the impact on local businesses during construction, the work was phased into three zones so that only part of the road was in construction at a time. The project was a great success due to a collaborative effort between the owner, designer, and contractor, who maintained an “open door” policy with the public that fostered community support throughout the construction work. This reconstruction project represents the Municipality of Anchorage’s continuing commitment to making neighborhoods streets safe, welcoming, and convenient for all users—drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit passengers alike. It is also the culmination of a decades-long effort by Spenard leaders, activists, and business owners working with the municipality’s project team to create a roadway that is beneficial for everyone.

Reid Middleton—Zacharias John Williams Memorial School, Napaskiak

Zacharias John Williams Memorial School front entrance.

© Kevin G. Smith | Reid Middleton

Reid Middleton provided structural engineering for the design of a new, 41,000-square-foot K-12 school. The facility is a pile-supported, single-story, steel-framed structure with steel joists encapsulated by wood floors and structural insulated panel (SIP) roofs and walls. SIPs allowed the majority of walls and roof to be constructed off-site and barged to the site. Included in the facility are a mechanical mezzanine, gym, library, computer lab, and bilingual/bicultural room. Students and visitors will enter the school by way of a long ramping corridor, symbolic of the Yupik Men’s House (Quasgiq) entry tunnel (an earthen structure built from driftwood and covered with sod).
The building is an emergency shelter and serves as one of just a handful of buildings in the town with a backup generator and stand-alone septic system.

The school successfully incorporated multiple local Native elements to make the interior welcoming to all.

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Architecture & Engineering Special Section + Small Business

February 2024

In the February 2024 issue of Alaska Business, we engineered a special section that inspects the many ways architecture and engineering enrich our lives, from creating beautiful and functional spaces to crafting functional and safe transportation corridors. In addition to the built world in which we live, this issue celebrates small businesses and the many functions they provide, whether they're developing tools in the healthcare industry or opening new dining locations.

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