Engineering Project of the Year Nominees
The following project summaries were submitted by the nominees and have been edited only for length and style. Thank you to the photographers featured in this section who gave permission for Alaska Business to publish their photos. The winning project will be announced at the EWeek Banquet on February 22.
The Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb Building
This new 112,400-square-foot facility supports a variety of client groups, including children’s dental, OB-GYN, pediatric neuro, and behavioral healthcare clinics. It has an associated 259,000-square-foot parking structure with a three-level skybridge connecting it to the clinic building.
Providing consistency and continuity throughout the building was challenging due to the multiple client groups and their individualized needs. Specialized tasks inherent in clinical environments meant that the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design was critical for success. Ongoing communication with end users was crucial to ensure the design supported the requirements of each individual group.
Integration of the MEP systems into the architectural elements was a primary consideration from the beginning. The architectural vision for the building and interior common spaces was to incorporate a natural Alaska feel with mountain, river, and glacier influenced themes. Accomplishing this vision required careful coordination with the owner and architect to provide finishes that accentuate the Alaska concept while using standard equipment. This enabled costs to be minimized due to the budget restrictions associated with this design-build project.
The parking structure presented its own unique design challenges, due to a combination of the owners’ desire for heightened security, a below-ground level, and the existing high-water table. For heightened security, increased lighting levels, access control, surveillance cameras, and emergency phones were provided throughout the structure. To overcome the high-water table issue, a lift station, with water level controls and alarms, was provided to monitor and control against below-grade flooding.
AMC Engineers provided services for the Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb building in Anchorage.
Seward Highway: Dimond Boulevard to Dowling Road Reconstruction
As the only roadway connecting Anchorage to and from the south, Seward Highway serves the Anchorage community and through-travelers as a vital transportation corridor. The central and southern portions of the Anchorage Bowl, as well as the Kenai Peninsula, have experienced significant growth in recent years, resulting in similar traffic volume increases in the project vicinity.
The Seward Highway: Dimond Boulevard to Dowling Road Reconstruction project is the second in a series of scheduled projects to improve safety, capacity, access, and connectivity on the Seward Highway between Rabbit Creek Road and 36th Avenue. Continuing south from the previous phase, from Dowling Road to Tudor Road, the project expanded the existing highway from four to six lanes from Dowling Road to Dimond Boulevard and built a new, grade-separated undercrossing with roundabouts at 76th Avenue/Lore Road.
Other project highlights include interchange ramp and frontage road improvements as well as the extension of Sandlewood Place to the north, terminating at Lore Road. Large, fish-passage box culverts spanning the frontage road and mainline facilities were constructed for the north and south forks of the Little Campbell Creek. Bike lanes and varying width sidewalks were also added to the frontage road and new undercrossing roadways, promoting active transport throughout the corridor.
The project went out to bid in Fall 2016 and was substantially complete Fall 2018.
Jacobs provided engineering services for the Seward Highway: Dimond Boulevard to Dowling Road Reconstruction project in Anchorage.
Kantishna Roadhouse LEED v4 Operations & Maintenance Gold Certification
In April 2018, PDC Engineers completed the LEED v4 Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Gold Certification of the Kantishna Roadhouse. This is the northernmost LEED O&M certification in the state and the only Version 4 Certification for existing buildings to date in Alaska. This first-of-its-kind application in the harsh climate on the outskirts of Denali National Park provides guest accommodations with an environmental bill of health. The successfully completed project allows Doyon, Limited to showcase its energy and environmentally efficient policies as well as assist in implementing new processes to utilize products and materials that are better for their employees, guests, and the environment. The project adjusted or developed processes that improve energy use, transportation, purchasing, waste policies, maintenance, renovations, indoor air quality, lighting, and cleaning.
PDC Engineers was able to lead the entire process in-house from development to submittal, ensuring the owner was not mired in certification paperwork. Existing processes and policies were reviewed and PDC was able to assist Doyon with modifications to existing policies or in the development of new policies. The project was completed under budget and in time for the 2018 summer tourism season. Additionally, PDC provided forms and training for the owner to complete the ongoing requirements for their quinquennial recertification.
PDC Engineers completed the northernmost LEED O&M certification (and only Version 4 certification for an existing building in Alaska) of the Kantishna Roadhouse near Denali National Park.
R&M Consultants | HDR:
Water Street Trestle #2
Built in 1979, Water Street Trestle #2 in Ketchikan was nearing the end of its useful lifespan and was no longer capable of supporting heavy loads. For residents living near the trestle, that meant the potential loss of essential services such as garbage trucks, heating oil suppliers, and emergency vehicles.
The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities—along with two consultants, R&M Consultants and HDR—sought to construct a new, reliable trestle that would allow essential services to continue to residences while withstanding the tough Alaska environment for the next seventy-five years. The new 1,000-foot-long hybrid structure consists of a bridge section, a retaining wall, and a steel-supported trestle. Constructing the new trestle required inventing a new “panel launcher” to move the 6-foot-wide, 25-foot-long precast deck panels into place.
The new trestle is built on the side of a cliff and overcame a tightly confined project site with variable subsurface conditions and drastic construction seasons that prevent paving from September to May. The project team minimized impact to the National Register of Historic Places-listed homes that run adjacent to the trestle, included new sidewalks and updates to meet ADA guidelines, and replaced all utilities.
The $25 million Water Street Trestle #2 project was opened with a celebration in June 2019 that featured local and state officials. In a display of what was previously impossible, the first vehicle to drive across the trestle was a City of Ketchikan Fire Department truck.
R&M Consultants and HDR provided consulting services to DOT&PF for the Water Street Trestle #2 project in Ketchikan.
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Southcentral Foundation’s Gottlieb Building
Situated on the Alaska Native Medical Center campus in Anchorage, Southcentral Foundation’s Gottlieb Building is its flagship facility. This medical office building houses a variety of family-oriented medical services, including dental, OB-GYN, maternal fetal medicine, gynecological oncology, and child and family developmental services. The team designed portions of the upper floors to support shallow pools used for physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Abundant with windows, the exterior is clad with multi-colored panels that suggest a ripple-effect reflection of the Chugach Mountains a few miles east. The south end of the building features a large, two-story atrium with a curved, floor-to-ceiling glass exterior. Above, serpentine roofs step back from each level below, creating a mountain waterfall-style cascade effect. Several tiers also incorporate exterior decks with tremendous views.
The 110,000-square-foot building has five stories above ground and a full basement. The structural system incorporates a ductile seismic resisting system known as buckling-restrained bracing. Strategically located, these braced bays provide excellent stability and performance in earthquakes.
The adjacent post-tensioned concrete parking structure includes seven levels with 499 parking stalls. It was designed to include a mirror image of itself to one side, which will double its capacity—a desired feature as the campus continues to grow.
A three-level skybridge connects the building with the parking structure. Outward sloping exterior walls and glass reflect the mountains and sky.
Reid Middleton designed portions of the upper floors of Southcentral Foundation’s Gottlieb building to support shallow pools used for physical therapy and rehabilitation.
City of North Pole Water System Expansion
The Stantec team leaned on its extensive resources to complete a fast-track design for this community water system expansion to mitigate groundwater contamination from the solvent sulfolane originating at an oil refinery near the City of North Pole. The project includes 34.4 miles of HDPE water main, a water treatment plant expansion, two booster pump stations, and a 0.75 MG treated water reservoir that provides safe drinking water to more than 700 properties. The City of North Pole is a subarctic community, with winter temperatures reaching -50˚F. The buried piping is designed with insulation, water circulation, and heating systems to provide the required freeze protection.
Stantec, with subcontractors Shannon & Wilson and R&M Consultants, provided investigation, surveying, geotechnical work, design, analysis, cost estimating, easement and ROW acquisition, permitting, procurement, and construction support required for the project. All utilities and buildings were designed by Stantec cold regions staff located in Alaska and Canada.
Construction began in March of 2018 and was completed in September 2019, a period of less than twenty months. Portions of the project required winter construction in regulated wetlands. To facilitate the early start during sub-zero conditions, the City of North Pole purchased pipe and stockpiled backfill. Construction was procured using a qualification-based best-value approach (not low bid) with incentives.
Stantec completed the City of North Pole Water System Expansion in eight months to provide safe drinking water and mitigate groundwater contamination.
©Judy Patrick Photography
Adjustable Atmospheric Corrosion Test Rack
A common assumption is that there is very little to no corrosion in cold environments. However, previous studies in Antarctic and Arctic regions have shown significant corrosion damage when exposed to cold conditions. The substantial population growth and climate change in the Arctic region pushes for a renewed, better understanding of the atmospheric corrosion mechanisms that can lead to good choice of materials selection and better design practices for infrastructure and other applications. Modular and adjustable atmospheric corrosion tests were designed and installed on the roof of the University of Alaska’s Engineering Parking Garage by Dr. Raghu Srinivasan with the help of ME undergraduate senior design students. Racks are 46-inch by 46-inch and can be adjusted to three different angles (0, 30, or 45 degrees to the horizontal). The angle of exposure affects the snow/ice retention, and this leads to the formation of varying thicknesses of moisture on the metal surface. The angle of exposure also affects the wash off from rain and this could change the atmospheric corrosion mechanisms. This rack helps identify weather parameters by isolating the corrosion inducing variables and their primary effect on corrosion in extreme cold climates. These pilot test racks are currently used to collect data in three different angles for NACE seed grant and NASA research projects. The potential benefits that are realizable from the corrosion research programs in cold regions are great and could inform and stimulate continued innovation and applications for many years through education and outreach.
UAA is using test racks to collect data in three angles for NACE seed grant and NASA research projects to better understand corrosion in Antarctic and Arctic regions.
In This Issue
The Art of Architecture
Architects often find themselves facing something of a chicken and egg dilemma. When it comes to design, what takes precedence—form or function?
“It’s a great question, and it’s probably a loaded question,” says David McVeigh, president of RIM Architects. “You can ask ten different architects and get ten different answers.”
Many of the factors that influence those answers land outside the architect’s control. The client’s vision for the building, its location and intended use, the project budget, and whether the design must conform to specific guidelines are all details the architect must consider when determining how much emphasis to place on aesthetics and how much on function.