Nearly three decades after it was first proposed and designed, construction is now getting underway on the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Juneau Forestry Sciences Laboratory.
Ground was broken Thursday afternoon on the new lab adjacent to the University of Alaska Southeast campus, just down the foot and bike path from the Egan Library.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Paul Brewster, assistant director of the Research Station and head of the Juneau lab, says funding for the $8.3 million dollar facility was finally approved in the last year and a half.
“They have a national priority list for facilities,” say Brewster. ”This being a research facility, it’s sort of looked at separate from other administrative facilities like the Juneau Ranger District office out there.”
Brewster believed its location next to UAS and potential opportunities for students to become involved with forest research could have helped bump the lab to the top of the priority list.
About twenty Forest Service employees are expected to move into the facility when it’s completed and opens in the latter half of next year.
Research Station Lab members are currently working out of the old NOAA fish laboratory in Auke Bay.
Previously, they worked out of facilities on Sherwood Lane, just down the street from the Alaska State Troopers and Department of Motor Vehicles. But an audit revealed health and safety concerns, and poorly functioning lab space.
For more on the new laboratory, check out the story in this newscast that aired Friday morning:
- While much of the recent focus has been on the opioid crisis, a report found that alcohol use causes more economic damage.
- Eight Arctic nations, six circumpolar indigenous groups, and over 30 representatives from other countries and organizations participate in the intergovernmental forum.
- A tsunami warning drill takes place once a year, and one village in Southeast has not forgotten the importance of being ready when disaster strikes.
- Nome turns into a bit of a carnival when the Iditarod winner mushes into town. For nearly a week, racers continue arriving before the banquet that officially concludes each year’s Iditarod.