SLAM construction set to begin this summer

By January 24, 2012Community, Syndicated

ECI/Hyer architect Brian Meissner updates the CBJ Assembly on the SLAM project. (Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO. Click to enlarge)

Construction of a new facility to house the state Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums in Juneau is on track to get underway in earnest this summer.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the so-called SLAM project was held last October at the construction site behind the current State Museum.

Architect Brian Meissner with the Anchorage-based firm ECI/Hyer says the design team sees a 20-million dollar appropriation in Governor Parnell’s proposed capital budget as a green light to start actual construction this year.

“This is the current plan: Get in the ground this summer and be done by the end of ’14 – so moving in in 2015. It may adjust if the funding comes on a different plan. That’s yet to be seen, but we’re feeling very good about it,” says Meissner.

Total cost for the project is estimated at more than 120-million dollars, of which 32.5-million is already on hand.

PCL Construction Services has been chosen as general contractor. Meissner says the first order of business is to build a vault to house some of the museum pieces during construction.

“Basically what we’re doing is we’re building a temporary storage for the artifacts – not for people – then we’re going to build the rest,” Meissner says.

The State Museum will be closed in 2013 and 2014 while the SLAM facility is under construction. During that time, Museum Curator Bob Banghart says they hope to set up temporary exhibits in Centennial Hall for visitors in Juneau, and to expand services to other facilities around the state.

“We dedicate a good portion of staff time in support of other institutions around the state with expertise that’s not just servicing them with exhibitions. It’s everything to do with museology, library development, archival assistance, etc,” says Banghart. “So those are manpower issues. We can send people; we’ll still maintain the communications there. We won’t lose that.”

Banghart says he’s a little concerned about the museum losing cruise ship visitors during the closure. But he says tourism companies have told him they’re excited about the new facility.

“They’re very interested in ratcheting up marketing of our institution to their clients, which means I think we’ll see an increase,” Banghart says.

The 118-thousand square foot SLAM building will double the amount of space currently used to house the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums. The facility will also bring all three functions under the same roof, creating more efficiency and better access to the state’s historical and archival material.

Meissner and Banghart updated the CBJ Assembly on the project’s progress at last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Recent headlines

  • dollar bill money macro

    Per diems driving special session costs

    Lawmakers who represent areas outside Juneau receive $295 for each day of the special session. Juneau lawmakers receive $221.25 per day.
  • Caroline Hoover proudly pins an Alaska Territorial Guard medal on the front of her father's parka during an official discharge ceremony held Oct. 17 in Kipnuk, Alaska. David Martin is one of three surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard's Kipnuk unit. A total of 59 residents of Kipnuk, who volunteered to defend Alaska in the event of a Japanese invasion during World War II, were recognized during the ceremony. Kipnuk residents who served with the Alaska Territorial Guard from 1942-1947 were members of a U.S. Army component organized in response to attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Jerry Walton, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs cultural resource manager and native liaison/public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

    16 Alaska Territorial Guard vets to be honored in Anchorage

    Sixteen veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard will be honored at a discharge ceremony today. Four of them are from Western Alaska.
  • Don Andrew Roguska looks out from an upstairs window of an historic Juneau house he bought in 2016 to restore. Zoning regulations have prevented him from rebuilding in the same style. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

    Juneau mulls relaxing zoning rules for historic houses

    The historic houses in Juneau and Douglas were predominately built by miners and fishermen long before today's zoning was put into place. That's prevented homeowners from restoring or rebuilding homes in these neighborhoods without running into conflict with the city's zoning laws -- a temporary fix may be on the way.
  • Young joins Afghanistan war skeptics in Congress

    Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young wants to know why Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. He has co-sponsored a bill that would end funding for the war in a year, unless the president and Congress affirm the need for it.