August 31, 2008
September 22, 2008
January 5, 2009
September 15, 2009
June 24, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.