Fort Wainwright hospital expected to be largest project

PHOTO/James MacPherson/AJOC
Some major construction projects are slated to begin in 2002 across the state. Several projects will continue work, and provide economic impact, through the following year.

Dick Cattanach, executive director of Associated General Contractors of Alaska, believes the largest project will be construction of a replacement hospital at Fort Wainwright. The $215 million project is set to be awarded to a general contractor in mid-January, he said.

Construction could begin this summer and finish in 2006.

The 32-bed, 259,000-square-foot hospital would serve the military, dependents and retirees of Fort Greely, Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base and remote military sites north of the Alaska Range.

Another key project is work on a new South Anchorage high school, he said. The project, which will be bid this winter, could begin construction in spring, aiming to open in 2004, Cattanach said.

Earlier this year Kiewit Co. won the bid for the $82 million, two-year phase of C Concourse construction at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, he said.

Project bids are due this spring for work on a new Alaska Psychiatric Institute, which could see construction starting in 2002, he noted.

Construction of a cloverleaf interchange at the Glenn and Parks highways should also be a significant project, Cattanach said.

In mid-December President Bush announced a decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which would clear a path for construction of a possible National Missile Defense System including some elements to be built in Alaska.

"When the president repudiated the missile defense treaty it means he can go forward and not violate any treaties," Cattanach said.

Jeff Pokorny, research director for the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., also agrees 2002 will feature significant construction work, although 2003 so far lacks major projects to support an annual average of more than 7,000 construction workers in Anchorage.

"What I don’t see next year is any big announcements for the next round of big projects," he said.

Retail construction projects will play a role this year, including construction of a South Anchorage Lowe’s store and a Fred Meyer store on Abbott Road, Pokorny said.

Other retail construction efforts include work on a second Applebee’s restaurant in East Anchorage, a Chili’s restaurant on Abbott Road and the pancake favorite IHOP on Tudor Road.

Tourism-related construction includes work on a Hilton Garden Inn, the Dimond Center Hotel and the Copper River Princess Lodge.

Work also continues in 2002 on a 10-story headquarters building for Arctic Slope Region Corp. in Midtown Anchorage. Work on the $40 million, 200,000-square-foot office building is set to be complete by fall.

Construction should begin in 2002 on expansion of the University of Alaska Anchorage Consortium Library.

12/30/2001 - 8:00pm