• Chunks of melting sea ice along a shoreline and subsistence camps on the beach in the background.

    Cape Krusenstern

    National Monument Alaska

Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, Kotzebue, Alaska

View of Northwest Arctic Heritage Center from 3rd Ave.
Northwest Arctic Heritage Center
NPS Photo Charles Olin
 

PROJECT UPDATES
August 31, 2008
September 22, 2008
January 5, 2009
September 15, 2009

June 24, 2008
Project Description:
The National Park Service is constructing a new visitor services/administration building – the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center – in Kotzebue, Alaska. The single-story structure, located on the site formally occupied by NANA Museum of the Arctic, will be 12,350 square feet. Space includes 8,450 sq. ft. for visitor services and 3,900 sq. ft. for NPS operations. When the heritage center is complete, the NPS will be able to offer people of the region and visitors from around the world a high-quality interpretive experience, a variety of educational programs, and personal administrative services. A 90-person multipurpose room will be used for programs ranging from Junior Rangers, to research presentations, to native crafts, to native dancing. NANA Regional Corporation plans to present programs in the center. NANA provides visitors with a range of interpretive experiences that relay the cultural heritage of the region.

Building Planning and Design:
In 2000, the NPS and NANA proposed a co-occupied building. The building would meet the visitor needs of the NPS and NANA and the administrative needs of NPS. In July 2001, the NPS and NANA signed a project agreement with the shared goal of using the NANA museum property and constructing a shared multipurpose facility. In October 2003, the NPS purchased NANA’s museum and the surrounding 0.55 acres. In June 2006, the NPS purchased the State of Alaska’s adjacent 0.20-acre parcel. That parcel provides the necessary acreage to meet site parking requirements. RIM Architects, Alaska, was the project architect. The original building design called for a two-story structure. In fall 2005, the NPS completed bid-ready construction documents for a two-story building. However, due to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and increases in the cost of steel and other construction materials, the project was over budget. The NPS directed RIM to redesign the building to reduce costs but retain the most important functions. RIM completed the re-design construction documents in March 2007.

Building Construction:
After an open competitive bid process, on December 12, 2007, the NPS awarded Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation (UIC Construction) the contract to construct the heritage center and all site improvements. On March 5, 2008, the NPS issued UIC a notice to proceed. UIC will break ground soon after the first barge arrives in Kotzebue in 2008, probably around July 8. The contract states that UIC must complete the project by February 2010. UIC has indicated it may substantially complete the work as early as spring 2009.

Exhibit Planning and Design:
Under contract with the NPS, AldrichPears Associates, a professional design firm, planned and designed the exhibits for the center. The exhibits display the natural and cultural history of the Northwest Arctic. The company solicited input from area individuals, groups, and organizations. Elders from around the region were especially important to the successful design.

Exhibit Fabrication:
In May 2008, the NPS awarded a contract for the exhibit fabrication to Formations Inc. of Portland, OR. Formations will produce, ship, and install all the interpretive exhibits for the center. The company has received a list of regional craftspeople and artists who could serve as resources. Formations will begin exhibit fabrication in summer 2008 and conclude a few months after the building and site contract is complete.

Related Project:
Under the same contract, UIC is also constructing a new 1,500 sq. ft. NPS maintenance building, primarily for vehicle and equipment maintenance and repair. The building will be located on the park’s administrative property across from the Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue.

Contacts:

  • WEAR Superintendent George Helfrich (907) 442-8301 for questions related to park operations and administration.
  • Brad Harris (907) 644-3383 for questions related to building and site construction.
  • Paul Schrooten (907) 644-3388 for questions related to exhibit fabrication.
 

PROJECT UPDATES
August 31, 2008

Construction Update
UIC broke ground after the first barge carrying construction supplies and materials arrived in Kotzebue at the beginning of July. UIC has placed horizontal beams on the vertical foundation posts, laid the decking, and erected the wall columns. It will begin erecting the walls themselves in early September. The vertical foundation posts use a closed liquid nitrogen system to keep the ground on which the building sits frozen.

UIC has approximately 19 construction workers on the project and approximately 14 are from the region.

 
UIC Construction crews prepare the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center foundation.
UIC Construction crews prepare the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center foundation.
NPS - Linda Jeschke
 
The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center building takes shape as UIC Construction build the walls.
The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center building takes shape as UIC Construction build the walls.
NPS - Linda Jeschke
 

Exhibit Update
Formations has begun pre-work for fabrication of the exhibits. It will complete the exhibits a few months after the building and site contract is complete.

Related Project Update
The concrete floor and metal panel shell of the maintenance building are complete.

 
UIC Construction erected the maintenance building very quickly.
UIC Construction erected the maintenance building very quickly.
Charles Olin
 

PROJECT UPDATE
September 22, 2008

Work on the heritage center is proceeding smoothly. The walls and roof are framed and one can now see the size, shape, and design of the building. All of the floor, most of the roof, and some of the walls are sheathed with oriented strand board, or OSB, an engineered wood product. UIC plans to close the building in before winter.

 
Walls and roof are framed on the new Northwest Arctic Heritage Center.
Walls and roof are framed on the new Northwest Arctic Heritage Center.
Charles Olin 09/22/2008
 
A view of the Northwest section of the new heritage center.
View of the Northwest section of the new heritage center.
Charles Olin 09/22/2008
 

Project Update
January 5, 2009

UIC restarted construction of the heritage center on January 5, after stopping in mid- December for the winter holidays.

Outside, the building is completely framed and enclosed. The roof is complete except for the flashing. The large window walls and all the exterior windows are installed.

Metal siding and flashing are up on both ends. Panel siding covers about 60% of the north face of the building.

Ramps and stairs are in place. The exterior lighting is in progress.

The inside of the building is completely framed. 90% is sheet-rocked.

The mechanical and HVAC rough-ins are almost complete. The electrical conduit rough-in is 80% complete and the wire pulling is 20% done. The electrical and mechanical rough-ins will start soon.

Next steps include taping and finishing, installation of interior windows, and installation of doorframes, specialty doors, and entry doors.

The NPS project inspector, Sandy Huss, describes all the work as “high quality.”

 

Project Update
September 15, 2009

The National Park Service expects to accept the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center as “substantially complete” in September 2009. Remaining work includes landscaping and paving that will be done in summer 2010.

Also in September, Formations, Inc. will begin installing the center’s exhibits. Installation should take four to six weeks.

Formations has already purchased some of the items that will be featured in the exhibits from residents of the region. Purchases include a woman’s parka, red fox fur hat, replicated artifacts, umiak frame, and fish net.

The NPS plans to move it operations to the building in mid-November. Park staff members look forward to welcoming visitors and residents to the center in December or early January.

 
Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, Kotzebue, Alaska
Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, Kotzebue, Alaska
NPS Photo Charles Olin
 
 
side view of the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, Kotzebue, Alaska
NPS photo charles olin
 
another side view of the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, Kotzebue, Alaska
nps photo charles olin
 
Painting of a herd of Wooly Mammoth
Painting of Wooly Mammoth at the front entrance of the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, Kotzebue, Alaska.
NPS Photo Charles Olin
 

Did You Know?

Image of the beach ridges of Cape Krusenstern as seen from the air

The beach ridges of Cape Krusenstern National Monument record the changing shorelines of the Chukchi Sea? They also record in time sequence an estimated 4,000 years of prehistoric human use of the coastline. More...