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Friday, August 22, 2014

Cramming for Finals (August 22)

UAS FH Construction Update for 8/22/2014

Cramming for Finals (August 22)

Cramming for finals brings back memories of stacks of books, binders of class notes, long days in class room studies, long nights at the library and the ever present feeling the pressure that there was way too much to learn in short amount of time.   

The Construction crew and Design team have been cramming for finals for quite some time now and with only 4 days left before UAS Freshmen start checking into the new UAS Freshman Residential Hall.  Just like UAS students cramming for finals, the Construction crew has been working long days and weekends.  Unlike college students the contractor has other options available to meet the deadline.  Some of the options the contractor has chosen to use include:

  • Hiring more tradesmen.  There have been many days when over 40 workers have been inside completing the building.
  • Providing incentives to tradesmen to continue to work faster and longer.  The empty pizza boxes are stacking up.
  • Creatively negotiating with the barge company when part of our furniture ended up in Sitka.
  • Providing a temporary material, until the final material can be shipped and installed.

And, lots of express shipping and air freight.  Several 20 foot long sections of aluminum window framing came up missing.  The missing pieces had to be re-manufactured in Springdale Arkansans.  Springdale does not have an air freight carrier that can handle a 20 foot long item.  In fact the contractor called all the major air freight companies and none of them would take a 20 foot long item.  However, our own Alaska Airlines said they could handle the 20-foot long window frames.  The nearest Alaska Airlines destination is St. Louis Missouri, 350 miles from Springdale Arkansas.

To ensure the window frames made all of their connections, the Contractor send down one of their superintendents to ride shot-gun.  On a sunny day, the drive from Springdale to St Louis takes 4-5 hours.  But, during tornado season it took them nearly twice that long driving in, impenetrable rains, blinding lighting and high winds.  The missing window frames made it on August 11 and are now installed in the north glass wall stairwell.

Aluminum Window Frames at the End of a Long Trip.

End of Long Ride


I once thought that after I graduated there would be no more cramming for finals.  Life quickly taught me that there are always deadlines, schedules and final completion dates.   We are all excited to see the new UAS Freshman Residential Housing building be ready enough for a new batch of UAS Freshmen to walk through the doors on Wednesday morning, August 27, 2014.


Furniture in General Purpose Room patiently waiting for wood trim around room.

Common Furniture



General Purpose Kitchen

Common Kitchen



Room 403 Door, and New Sign

Room 403



Room 403 Refrigerator, Microwave & Cabinets

Room 403 Fridge



Room 403 View

Room 403 View





Nathan NLEIGH1 05:25:01 PM
Friday, August 15, 2014

No Light Bulbs (August 15)

UAS FH Construction Update for 8/15/2014

No Light Bulbs (August 15)

Yes that is correct; there are No Light Bulbs in the new UAS Freshman Residential Housing. The Design team has made another bold statement by only using Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights.

The Incandescent Light bulb made successful by Thomas Edison runs electricity through a small metal element until it gets very hot (white hot) which produces light.

The Florescent Light bulbs work by running an electric current through a gas filled tube which produces a short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb to glow.

For a Neon Light, a clear glass tube is filled with neon, then a small electrical current but several thousand volts passes through the neon gas, causing it to emit a colored light.  Neon emits a red light.  Other gases can be used to get a different color, helium (yellow), carbon dioxide (white) and mercury (blue).  However, they are still referred to neon lights.


Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lights work very similarly to standard light bulbs except for the fact that LEDs are much smaller and contain no filament. Instead of a filament, an LED creates light using nothing but the movement of electricity along the path of its semiconductor. As the electrons stream across the semiconductor, they create electromagnetic radiation. Some forms of this electromagnetic radiation can take the form of visible light, which humans can perceive via sight

This is a photo of the inside of the bathroom sink light fixture.  Each of the yellow squares is a LED semiconductor.  The LED’s are about the size of a pencil eraser and there are more than 300 LED’s in one bathroom mirror light fixture. 

Inside and LED Light Fixture

Lights LED Bar


Everyone talks about how much less electricity LED lights use.  Which is true, the bathroom mirror light fixture uses only 15-20% of the electricity that a typical bathroom mirror light.   However, us height challenged people love the idea that we may never have to change another light bulb again.  An average LED light will last 50,000 hours or 20-40 years depending on how long you leave it on each day.  LED lights are so efficient and long lasting that mothers everywhere will never have to tell their kids to turn out the lights.  smiley

If you try to buy LED lights at your local store, there is only one style.  However, our design team has access to commercial lighting companies that have some great lighting selections.

Just check out some of the great lights in the UAS Freshman Residential Housing.

Ceiling Reflection lights in Commons Room

Lights 2 Commons



Wall Accent Lights in Commons Room

Lights 3 Commons




Very Bright Light Bars in the Class / Conference Room

Lights Class-Confrence Room



Hallway Lights

Lights Hallway



Bedroom Dome Lights

Lights Bedroom




And My favorite  -  Stairway Wall Lights

 Lights LED Can  Lights Hall 1 



The Contractor is making the final push to complete the building. Rooms are painted, carpet is down, doors hung and lights installed.  There are some finishing work left and they still need to complete the glass curtain walls that have been giving them headaches (see next week blog).   Many of the construction crew have been working 60-80 hour weeks so our UAS Freshmen will have the best room in that nation to start school.  Next time you see one, tell them Thank You.

Nathan NLEIGH1 12:52:46 PM
Friday, August 08, 2014

New Furniture Grades ( August 8 )

UAS FH Construction Update for 8/08/2014

New Furniture Grades (August 8)

After reading furniture specifications for a week this spring and not being able to make heads or tails of them, I have decided to come up with my own furniture grading system.


Nathan Furniture Grades

1 –Mud Puddle in the Mendenhall Wetlands while sitting in a Duck Hunting Blind.

2 – Log Bench around a campfire circle at the Eagle River Boy Scout Camp

3 –Aluminum Lawn Chairs with plastic webbing seats in my First Apartment

4 – Reinforced colored Concrete seats used in my high school Literature Class.

5 –Wood Frame Chairs with Wicker Seats purchased at a garage sale for my first house

6 – New Adjustable Office Chair, first new piece of furniture I ever sat in.

7 – New couch for my living room.

8 – KI RoomScape UAS Freshman Residence Hall Furniture

9 – Living room furniture that my Mother never let us kids sit in.

10 - Furniture that no one will let me sit in.


This week furniture for the residential suites was installed in Hall II.

The furniture is made by KI who has been manufacturing furniture for over 70 years and has thousands of pieces of furniture to choose from.


The furniture really makes the room look and feel like a student residential suite. 

Now just need some students to bring the room to life.  smiley


Room 454B – Desks

Room 454 Desks



Room 454B – Bed/Dresser 2

Room 454B lt



Room 454B – Armoires

Room 454B back



Suite 454C – Bed/Dresser 1

Suite 454C



Vestibule 454 – Note Refrigerator and Microwave will be installed soon.

Vestibue 454



Bathroom 454 – Sinks




Shower 454 – Shower




Nathan NLEIGH1 12:47:43 PM
Friday, August 01, 2014

Lasers at Work (August 1)

UAS FH Construction Update for 8/01/2014

Lasers at Work (August 1)

My physics teacher gave the following analogy for a laser:  Light waves coming from a light bulb are like a bunch of 2-year olds, they just go in any which direction until they bump into a wall.  Light waves coming from a laser is like a precision drill team with synchronized movements and all moving in the same direction.   It may not be a good analogy, but it is memorable.

The theory behind Lasers was established in 1917 by Albert Einstein.  It was not until the mid-1950’s when the first lasers came on the scene.  It however, it has only been the last decade that lasers have been cheap enough that they started to show up on the construction site.  Now every time you turn a corner in the UAS Freshman Residential Housing Project.

Here are some of the ways the Contractor has been using Lasers.

Laser used to set elevation grades on building foundations.

Laser - Grade Setting



Laser placed inside sewer line to maintain constant slope

Laser Grade Set Sewerline



Laser Line to line up wall

Laser Wall Alignment



Laser line to set constant elevation of light switches

Laser Light Switch Height



Laser to level bathroom cabinets

Laser Cabinets



Elevator 4-way laser to align elevator guides

Elevator 4-way Laser



Green Laser to align roof tiles

Laser Green Grid




Laser is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation

The uses of lasers is limited only by your imagination.






Nathan NLEIGH1 06:31:20 PM
Friday, August 01, 2014

Roundabout Update (July 31)

DOT&PF Roundabout Update for 7/31/2014

Roundabout Update (July 31)

Placing the paint stripes on an operating roundabout is quite a challenge as many of us found out while driving through the roundabout yesterday.  On one trip through the roundabout the traffic controllers had me driving backwards through the roundabout.  On another trip through the roundabout, I missed my turn and had to go out the road, flip a U-Turn and go back through the roundabout a second time.


Miller Construction completed the roundabout and sent us link to 10 awesome photos of the roundabout from the air.  It was a long process, but the Back Loop Roundabout is now a great improvement to our community.   Thank you Miller Construction for letting us posts these photos. 






This album has 10 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 10/30/2014.





Roundabout 1

Roundabout 1




Nathan NLEIGH1 11:14:14 AM
Monday, July 28, 2014

I Can't Hear You..... (July 25)

UAS FH Construction Update for 7/25/2014

I Can’t Hear You (July 25)

And that is a good thing, when you are sharing living quarters with 100 other UAS Freshmen. 

The Design Team for the UAS Freshman Housing project included an Sound Engineer, whose job it was to include components in the building that help keep the sound from transmitting through the building. 

WoodTrends Topline Acoustical Wood planks are one of those components.  These planks are constructed form a soft fibrous material with a brown cheery wood veneer.  The planks are then cut into an overlapping sound catching pattern.  The end result is a good looking wood panel that has a NRC, Noise Reduction Coefficient, value of 0.75.   

Check out their website at

                       Topline Acoustical Wood Plank Section.

Ac Tile 1





                                                     Topline Acoustical Wood Plank

Ac Tile 4



The Contractor had scaffolding and large work platform for the workers to install these Acoustical Planks.  You could not see them up there on the platform working, but you could hear them.  It was neat to hear the noise level go down each day as they put more of these Acoustical Planks up.

Work Platform for Contractor installing Ceiling Tile

Work Platform



Ceiling of the Commons area and Classroom/Conference room.

Ceiling Tile



 Additional Layers of Gypsum Board is another component that the design team has used to prevent sound transmission.  The fire code requires two layers of gypsum board in specific areas to provide a greater fire protection between two types of spaces, like the stairwell and the hall way.  (See Update April 25)   The design team added a second layer of gypsum board in additional places like the bedroom/bathroom walls for more sound insulation, even though it is not required by the fire code.    The Design Team also used a clip and cross bar mounting system behind they gypsum board. This reduces the connection points that sound can transmit from the gypsum board surface and into the metal stud walls.

Sound Clip Mounting System:

Clip System



Concrete floors are another very effective component for preventing sound migration between floors.  This large concrete solid mass absorbs the sound and prevents it from transmitting to the floor below.  The Laundry Room is on the second floor and has a concrete floor that is twice as thick as everywhere else so sound in the laundry room stays in the laundry room.

                                                         Concrete Floors

Concrete Floors



Sound is like a two-year old’s finger, it will find and penetrate any small opening.  Therefore, one last component the Design Team has used to prevent sound migration is to minimize all openings in walls, floors and ceilings.   Penetrations are then sealed with drywall plaster or fire foam.

Wall penetration sealed with fire foam

Wall Penetrations




Nathan NLEIGH1 09:10:15 AM
Friday, July 18, 2014

Building of a Different Color- Part 2 (July 18)

UAS FH Construction Update for 7/18/2014

Building of a Different Color – Part 2  (July 18)

My idea to keep the utilitarian color of the building (see weblog March 7) was dismissed as Engineering technobabble.  This week you can really see the Architect’s building color selection.  The main building color is “Champagne Metallic” on a corrugated metal panel.  The interesting thing about this color and material is the different shades of color the building emit depending if it is sunny, cloudy, morning or evening.  The tall corner pilasters and building ends are Hemlock Green” on a metal panel that has a small relief pattern.  The roof trim is a wide “Classic Green” edge flashing with a “Copper Penny” accent strip. 

This morning’s photo makes it easy to see why the Architect gets to make the color selections and not the Engineer.

Building of a Different Color July 18, 2014

Champain Siding


The Contractor has also been working the past week in the metal framing for the glass curtain walls that covers the face of the commons area and encloses the stairwells.  The curtain wall is constructed from an aluminum frame that is stick built on site and fastened to the building.  Once the frame is set, large triple-pain-argon-filled windows will be set in the frame openings and then secured in place with additional aluminum framing members.   Notice that the color of these frames are copper penny, to match the accent strip going around the roof line.   Even I, have to admit that Architects make our community a much better looking place to live.

Aluminum Curtain Wall Framing Members

Aluminum Framing



View from 4th floor class/conference room.

Curtian Wall Window Frame



All of that Metal Siding and Curtain Wall Framing is installed by construction workers in a man-lift.  This month there have been 4-6 lifts on site. But one day, we had six man-lifts on site.

Six Man-Lifts on site!

Six Man-Lifts



Nathan NLEIGH1 12:05:51 PM
Friday, July 11, 2014

UP's and DOWN's of Construction

UAS FH Construction Update for 7/11/2014

UP’s and DOWN’s of Construction (July 11)

During construction projects, we hope everything is UP and nothing is DOWN.  However, this week we were all glad to see dozens of UP’s and DOWN’s when the Contractor completed the installation of the Elevator.  The Elevator subcontractor, Otis Elevator Co, showed up on the project site a couple of weeks ago and brought with them lots of cool tools to install the elevator.


Elevator Shaft


Elevator Workers PUlly


Elevator Workers Pulley – Used to lift up Steel Elevator Railing

One of the first was what every Engineer and Physics student loves is the simple rope and pulley.  The first year in Engineering 101, I was amazed to learn that with enough rope and pulleys I could lift by hand a full 10-yard cement truck. The second year in Engineering 101, I was disappointed to learn that there is no such thing as a frictionless rope and pulley.  This means that it does not take long before all of my strength pulling on a rope is used up by friction in the pulley and rope itself.  So in real life, using real rope and pulleys, you can typically only 6 – 10 times your own lifting capacity.



Elevator 4-way Laser

Elevator 4-Way Laser



Elevator Laser Target

Elevator Laser Target

Second neat tool was their laser alignment tool.  Most construction crews on the construction site have a laser that casts a horizontal or vertical line.  The Elevator crew had a fancy laser tool that cast four way vertical columns.  Using small laser targets, they used this laser tool to align up the four corners of the elevator travel.   With a little fog machine, the elevator shaft could have looked like one of those spy movies with all of the security alarm lasers.


Elevator Door

Elevator Door – Floor 3

Third is the elevator itself.  What a neat invention where  you can walk into a small room, push a button and then walk out on a different floor of a tall building.  Our furniture crew will be particularly appreciative of the elevator so they don’t have to haul beds, dressers and refrigerators up 4 flights of stairs.


The Contractor continues to work on other parts of the building.  The suites have all been painted out in Hall II with lights and cabinets installed in the top two floors.  A wood acoustical ceiling has been installed in the vaulted ceilings of the community and conference rooms.  The electrical subcontractor continues to pull miles of blue communication cables throughout the building.  Look for glass store front framing to start appearing next week.


Room 451C

Room 451C - Painted and Trimmed out.

Nathan NLEIGH1 03:26:30 PM
Friday, June 27, 2014

Stone or Wood?

UAS FH Construction Update for 6/27/2014

Stone or Wood? (June 27)

What would you call a new material that looks like wood but wears like stone?

How about Stonewood.  

Stonewood is a trade name for an architectural panel manufactured with a core of phenolic resin impregnated Kraft paper and a face of melamine resin, compressed at high pressure and temperatures. 

Stonewood Panel Layers      

StoneWood Panel

StoneWood Panel




The result is a thin panel sheet that is extremely durable, resisting wind, rain and UV deterioration.  The finish on these panels comes in over one hundred different colors and patterns from Antique White, to Black Granite, to the Monticello Maple the Contractor installed today on the UAS Freshman Housing project.

These panels are being installed on the underside of the building entrance canopy and provide warmth to the entrance, alongside the Yellow Cedar timbers we talked about on June 13th.


Monticello Maple Panel


Montincello Maple Panel

Montincello Maple Panel



UAS Freshman Residential Hall Entrance Canopy


UAS FH Entrance

UAS FH Entrance



As you can imagine, paneling for a building entrance, is just one use of this unique building material.  Check out the manufactures website for other projects that used these panels for walls, ceilings and the exterior cladding on the Tasina Lodge in Valdez Alaska.


Most of the trades are still working inside the building including electrical, mechanical, sheet rock, drywall, painting and the flooring subcontractor started this week and should have the top floor of Hall II carpeted out by Monday.   Look for some near complete photos of Room 451B in next week’s Blog.



Nathan NLEIGH1 04:40:49 PM
Friday, June 20, 2014

Closed Doors (June 20)

UAS FH Construction Update for 6/20/2014

Closed Doors (June 20)

Closed Doors are often associated with something negative.  However, the doors inside the New Freshman Housing Suites are so beautiful; Closed Doors can only be associated with the great and amazing things in life.   Check out how good just a couple of these Closed Doors look.

Closed Door – Suite 451C                                                  Closed Door  Suite 451B


Door Suite 451C

Door Suite 451B

The doors are made by VT Industries in Iowa.  VT Industries have used a multiple layer construction method for the doors in the UAS Freshman Residential Housing project.  They start with a core consisting of a Structural Composite Lumber then add a layer of High Density Fiber (HDF) crossband and then a finish layer of real Hickory wood. More information than you ever thought possible about doors can be found at VT Industries website:

The real Hickory wood naturally varies in pattern and shade which makes each door different and unique.  Just like every UAS student that will be living in the Freshman Residential Hall. 

Closed Door – Suite 351B

Door Suite 351B


Besides a beautiful wood surface to enjoy, I have found many other positive benefits of Closed Doors including; keeping the warm air inside, keeping flying mosquitos outside, making it dark to sleep at night, physically defining my personal space, shutting out the sound of my brothers choices in music and locking out pesky little sisters. 

So whether you like open doors or Closed Doors, we can all be happy that the Architect selected a beautiful hickory door and that the Contractor has installed doors in the top two floors of Hall II. 


Closed Door – Suite 454B

Door Suite 454B



The Contractor continues to make progress with sheet rocking, painting and connecting the electrical and mechanical systems.  The building entry canopy is ready for roofing and the building metal siding will soon be visible on the north-west corner of the building.


UAS Freshman Housing – Entrance Canopy

UAS FH June 19




Nathan NLEIGH1 11:26:09 AM

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