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Construction Updates

Friday, September 19, 2014

How many LED's (Sep 19)

UAS Construction Update for 9/12/2014

How many LED’s

How many Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s ) does it take to light the UAS parking lot and access road?  I hope that only I have been staying up late at night wondering about this question.  Today we get to know the answer.  One LED from your headlamp is bright enough to illuminate the trail in front of you.  However, it is not bright enough to illuminate a whole street.  Therefore, light manufacturers just keep adding LED’s until they have enough light to illuminate a street, parking lot or building.  The street lights being used on our project have 4 rows of LED’s with xx in each row.  We have 53 street lights on this project.  The number of LED’s is calculated as follows:

                      (4-rows)(10 LED/row)(53-poles) =  2,120 - LED’s

LED Street Light Fixture

LED Street Light Fixture




The contractor working on our UAS site lighting project has now installed all but a couple of the new street lights.  If you come in early or leave late, you have noticed that more and more lights get turned on each day.

New LED Street Light on Auke Lake Way

Street Light




Keep a watch out next week for the Contractor installing smaller pathway light poles along the Auke Lake Way sidewalk and the pathway down to the roundabout.  We will let one of our new UAS freshmen figure out how many LED’s it takes to light the pathway.

Pathway Light Pole Foundation

Pathway Light Foundation




Pathway to Soboleff Building:  The Contractor got notice this morning that the asphalt paving crew will be here today!   The Contractor will need to do some additional work after the paving, but hopefully we will have this pathway back open soon.

UAS Freshman Housing. 

Next week we will see a couple of man-lifts working around the outside of the new UAS Freshman Housing while they complete the metal siding around the windows and corners of the building.  This work is expected to take several weeks.




Nathan NLEIGH1 11:20:06 AM
Friday, September 12, 2014

Hot Rocks - (September 12)

UAS Construction Update for 9/12/2014

Hot Rocks

My grandmother told me stories that her mother would heat up a large rock on the wood stove at night.  When the rock was nice and warm, she would wrap it up in a towel and put in the bottom of her bed to keep her warm during a cold winter night. 

When I moved to Alaska 20+ years ago and had to pay my own heating bills, I turned down the thermostat to the cool to cold side and bought a couple more blankets.  Then one year a friend gave us some modern hot rocks.  These hot rocks are a cloth bag filled with some type of grain like wheat corn or rice.  Now we just pop a hot rock bag into the microwave, heat them up and put them in the bottom of our bed to keep warm at night.  Some hot rocks purchased at the store have included spices and fragrances and are intended as a heat or cold pack.  The one down side of these hot rocks is that they get cold in the middle of the night and you kick them out onto the floor.  That may be why grandmother never got more than 6 hours of sleep at night.

Grandmas Hot Rock


Grandmas Hot Rock2

Grandmas Hot Rock2




My Hot Rocks

My Hot Rocks



Each UAS Freshman Housing suite has what you could consider a mega-hot rock.  Heating is provided by hydronic heating in the floor.  (See Update on November 1, 2013)  This system runs hot water through tubes the 4 inch thick concrete floor resulting in a mega-hot rock that weights

(4-inches)(250 Square Feet)(1-foot/12-inches)(150lb/cubic feet) = 12,500 pounds.

This “mega-hot rock” weights 6 tons and will not get cold at night, even if you turn the thermostat all the way down and stop the hot water from flowing through the tubes in the concrete.  This mega-hot rock holds so much heat that it takes many, many hours for it to cool down or heat up.  Therefore, instead of living in a house that jumped between 56 – 70 everyday like I did, Residents with hydronic floor heating are encouraged to pick a temperature they like and stay at that temperature all the time.

Concrete Pour Last November to Create one Mega Hot Rock

Making Hot Rock




Pathway to Soboleff Building:  The Contractor is almost complete with their earth work, set foundations for the handrail and will be installing handrail posts in the next day or so.  They will be ready for asphalt pavement sometime next week, and then we just need to have a non-rainy day to get the paving done.

Posts Lined up for New Handrail

Posts for Handrail



Campus Exterior Parking Lot Lighting. 

Did you notice that we will lost 35 minutes of daylight last week?   Also did you notice that the Contractor got up two rows of LED parking lot lights?    The plan for next week is much the same,  lose 36 minutes of daylight and install the remaining two rows of parking lot lights.  Keep a watch out for new pathway lights showing up on Auke Lake Way.

Light Pole Foundation Proudly Supporting a New LED Light Pole

New LED Light



Nathan NLEIGH1 12:05:57 PM
Friday, September 05, 2014

UAS Construction Update (Sep 5)

Pathway to Soboleff Building:  The Contractor has removed the existing pavement and has started placing new subgrade along this pathway.  This walkway will be closed for about 2-weeks while the contractor is working in this area.  When the project is completed it will include a wider asphalt path with a handrail on the right hand side.    Once the groundwork is prepared for this walkway, we will need to wait for a non-rainy day to pave this pathway.  We all hope there are a few of these days left before snow flies.

Pathway Under Construction

Path Construction




Campus Exterior Parking Lot Lighting. 

By the same time next week, we will have lost 35 minutes of daylight!  Besides being simply amazing to us Engineers and Astronomers that daylight can change so fast, it makes it difficult for Faculty, Staff and Students who arrive before 6 AM or leave after 7:30 PM with the parking lot lights out.  Therefore, we are having the Contractor install some temporary lighting by Monday.   This will help tide UAS over until the new LED lighting is installed and turned on.  These lights will be installed and turned on in sections, starting with the ones closest to the Egan entrance.  The Contractor will have all the LED lights turned on in 3-4 weeks.  By that time we will have lost 2 hours and 20 minutes.  How does that happen?

Light Pole Foundation Waiting for LED Light Pole

Pole Foundation



Nathan NLEIGH1 04:25:31 PM
Friday, September 05, 2014

Transformation from Building to Home (Sep 5)

UAS FH Construction Update for 9/05/2014

Transformation from Building to a Home (September 5)

UAS Freshman over the past 10 days have been transforming the new UAS Freshman Residence hall from a wonderful building into a comfortable and exciting home.  This will be their home for the next x months and I have been impressed with how quickly the project went from a construction zone into a living zone.  Orange vests and hard hats have been replaced with clean trendy outfits and stylish hair.  The Noise of Chop saws and screw guns have been replaced with energetic talking and laughter.  Blank cork boards have been livened up with invitations to campus activities of live concerts and painting the northern lights.  Freshly painted walls are now decorated with photos of family, posters of Seahawks and the latest music groups.

Lively Bulletin Board

Bulliten Board



Inspiring Entrance Murals




The Contractor continues to work on some final punch list items in the commons area and mechanical rooms.  Next week the Contractor will be installing the large glass wall that separates the fifth floor seminar/class room and the commons area on the 4th floor.  These panes of glass are ten feet tall and are fully tempered.  They will also be installing the final glass windows in the front of the building.   UAS and the Contractor are working diligently to minimize the disruptions and inconveniences to our UAS Freshmen while these remaining items get completed.

Contractor Exterior Grading

Exterior Grading

UAS Freshmen started entering the new Residence Hall on August 27th.  Many of the local news communities produced excellent stories on the project.  Here are some links to those stories:


Facebook – UAS Facebook page:

KTOO and reporter Lisa Phu:

Juneau Empire and reporter Katie Moritz

UAS website also links/posts all of the news articles about UAS at:


Nathan NLEIGH1 12:08:36 PM
Friday, August 29, 2014

Making it Better for the Next Generation (August 29)

UAS FH Construction Update for 8/29/2014

Making it Better for the Next Generation (August 29)

The UAS Freshman Residential Housing came to life this week with over 100 new UAS Freshmen.  The smiles, excitement and enthusiasm of our new UAS freshmen have been a wonderful thing to witness as they checked into their new suites and start another chapter in their life.   The most frequent comment from parents was “What a beautiful building, I never lived in student housing that was this nice”.

                                                  New UAS Freshman Residential Housing

Opening Day


Parents of our UAS freshmen, including myself, went to school in a student dorm made from solid concrete, painted with lead based paint with cold steel doors.  They looked a lot more like army barracks than college & university student housing.   Most people work their whole life Making it Better for the Next Generation.   Weather it is a Parent, Teacher, Artist, Biologist, Nurse or Law Enforcement Officer; we are working to make it better for the Next Generation.

The UAS Freshman Residential Housing project has been in the works for more than a decade and hundreds of people have contributed to its completion and operation.  I have only been involved in this project for over one year and it has been my honor to do my small part as UAS construction representative.  I would like to thank those who have made this project a reality including:

UAS Administration

Local Elected Officials – Funding

UAS Staff

UAS Faculty

Design Team:

MRV Architects

Murray & Associates – Mechanical

Haight & Associates – Electrical

R&M – Civil

PDC – Structural

Greenbush Group – Acoustical


ASRC McGraw Constructors – General

Schmolck Mechanical – Plumbing

Schmolck – Ventilation Duct Work

Harri Plumbing & Heating – Sprinkler System

Chatham Electric – Electrical

Siemens – Building Controls

UAS IT Staff – Connection to the world

Doaks Lock and Key

Admiralty Construction Inc. – Civil Site Work

Hardrock Construction – Siding

Rainbow Builders – Carpet and Linoleum

Alaska Acoustical - Acoustical Ceiling Tiles

American Painting – Paint

Coble’s Painting – Paint

All Wall Construction – Paint

ASRC McGraw Hoonah All Stars – Sheet Rock

Northern Lights Development – Concrete Sidewalks

Otis – Elevator

CBC Construction – Roofing

Simplex-Grinnell – Fire Alarm & Security

All Wire Electric – Controls

F&F – Sheet Rock, also tape mud and paint

Secon – Paving

Gibson Door – Door and Hardware Installation

Perseverance Glass- Glass and Curtain wall installation

All of the men and women in these companies have worked long and hard hours  Making it Better for the Next Generation of UAS Freshmen.  

Thank you all again!





Smiling Faces2

Smiling Faces3

Check out the smiling UAS freshman faces the UAS Facebook page:


Check out the nice article and photos from the Thursdays Juneau Empire have on the project.


Next week KTOO will highlight a cover story on our UAS Freshman Residential Housing project.

Look for it on the cover website of:

Nathan NLEIGH1 12:24:16 PM
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

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