The Nome State Building on Front Street is down to its bare bones amid renovations administrators say should be completed by early April 2015.
Andy Mills serves as special assistant for the Alaska Department of Administration (DOA). He said construction began in earnest early this year—starting with design work and preliminary inspections. Now, the building is down to the studs.
“This building is effectively a full gut and remodel,” said Mills. “It includes everything from mechanical, walls, plumbing, electrical—even down to the phones and data or Internet.”
Since the building is fully gutted, offices including Fish & Game, the Department of Law, the Department of Health and Social Services, and the Department of Corrections are all temporarily relocated for the summer months.
Some have wondered: why choose an extensive remodel rather than a complete rebuild? Mills said it came down to crunching the numbers.
“Ultimately the cost made sense when you talk about fortifying the structure, remodeling what’s already there, and moving critical systems to the roof,” said Mills. Those critical systems are largely electrical, and they’re being relocated to the roof in case of future water inundation since the building will remain in its current location by the shore on Front Street.
The winning bid for the state building contract came in at $7.6 million and was awarded to Denali General Contractors. Subcontractors include Q Trucking, Anchorage Restaurant Supply, Mantech Mechanical, and Northern Lights Mechanical, among others. Mills said in addition to employing a variety of subcontractors, the construction itself is an economic benefit to the City of Nome.
“When these folks are doing work in the community for months on end, you’re finding all the freight that’s being shipped in for this project, all the hotels, the restaurants,” said Mills. “That local economy is certainly seeing a multiplier with this work that’s being done.”
Hazardous materials including asbestos, lead, mercury and PCB were present in the building, and environmental inspection found that all construction is being done in accordance with local, state, federal, and OSHA requirements.
When the remodel is complete, Mills said, the offices moving back into the building will benefit from the DOA’s Universal Space Management Standards—a design plan that maximizes existing space so that it can be used more efficiently.