UAS sells downtown center

Bill Ray CenterThe UAS Bill Ray Center has been sold to First National Bank Alaska.

The deal closed Monday.  University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor John Pugh says the purchase of the building will allow UAS to consolidate programs on the Auke Lake campus.

The downtown center on F Street has been underutilized in recent years. Right now the University of Alaska nursing program and University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service are housed there.  The programs will lease space from the bank for the remainder of the academic year, so they don’t have to move yet.

Pugh says the $3 million from the sale of the Bill Ray Center will be used to complete the new dorm on the campus.

“We’re working on the construction of the freshman residence hall, 120 beds. The money will be used for the dorm,” Pugh says.

The facility is being built in two phases.  The first is the basic infrastructure, offices, conference rooms, 60 beds and laundry.  The second phase is a  dorm with 60 more student beds.

The entire project will cost 14 million dollars, with 6 million coming from the state of Alaska.  Pugh says the university is coming up with the additional funds, including the sale of the downtown building.

FNBA Vice President Luke Fanning says the property will allow the bank’s Channel Branch on 10th Street to expand.

The 22,000 square foot building and its 38,000 square foot parking lot were built in 1976, with state funds.  The late Sen. Bill Ray sponsored the legislation.  The university later named the building after him.  Ray served Juneau in the legislature for 22 years.  He died last week at the age of 91.

Fanning says the company has no plans to change the name at this time.

First National is an Alaskan-owned company with 30 branches in 18 communities throughout the state.

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