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Project: Library Archives Museum Project

Date: 11-12-2010

Subject: Conditions Overview of Alaska State Museum Building in consideration of inclusion within the Library
Archives Museum Project.

Summary of Findings

This memorandum summarizes findings from explorations undertaken in April, May and June of 2010. During
that period of time the existing Alaska State Museum Building was considered for inclusion within the much
larger Library Archives Museum Project.

Previous studies and legislative action had identified the site of the existing museum as the site of the future joint
facility. Adjacent parcels of property were obtained to expand the site footprint in support of the new 124,000 sf
facility. Even with these land acquisitions it was determined that the footprint of the new building would
substantially occupy the site and that it would need to include structured parking.

A conditions survey of the existing museum building conducted in May/June of 2010 revealed numerous
structural deficiencies that would need to be remedied if the building were to be included in the Library Archives
Museum project. Essentially, the building would need to be taken down to its structural frame, the structural
frame strengthened, and then reconstructed including replacement of most major building systems. Before
reconstruction could begin extensive lead and asbestos abatement work would need to be completed. Thus, re-
purposing the existing building would be very expensive. Of even greater concern were several programmatic
deficiencies of the building which are exacerbated by the building’s location on site. Primary among these are
deficiencies in building vehicular access and accessibility (ADA), as well as existing floor elevations that do not
meet programmatic needs and would compromise access and efficiency within the combined facility.

Through these early studies, and through a public process during spring/summer 2010, it was determined that
inclusion of the existing museum within the expanded facility would compromise project goals and would be

Existing Museum Conditions Summary -- Page - 1

General Building Information

The existing Alaska Museum building was built in 1967. Beginning in the 1980s a new wing was added in two
phases of construction. The new wing houses mechanical rooms, offices, a conference room and some storage.
The final phase of the addition was constructed in 1990s. The existing building exterior is a landmark in Juneau.
The exterior panels are a valued component of the existing structure. The existing buildings structure and floor
plan do not support the needs of a modern museum. The modern visitors range from children on school tours to
adult tour groups from the cruise ship industry.

The code review for the 1982 construction documents indicates that the existing museum building was a type II
fire-resistive building. The building is a two story building with a basement. The first phase of the addition is listed
as a one story building with a basement. The second phase of the addition added a second floor to the addition
to match the height of the original building. The original building is 100’-0” long and 80’-0” wide. The addition is
37’-4” by 50’-0”. The approximate combined area of the building is about 9,966 square feet per floor.

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Summary of Challenges and Deficiencies

The list below presents an overview of challenges with incorporating the existing building in the Library Archives
Museum Project. For additional findings please refer to the Alaska State Museum Building Conditions Survey
issued in June of 2010.

Challenge/Deficiency Possible Solution

General Challenges
Existing Collections are at risk in 3 separate locations. The design of the integrated facilities needs to proceed
forward to lessen the imminent risks to the existing
The existing building may have historical significance. In conjunction with the State Historic Preservation Office,
perform an analysis for determination of eligibility for
landmark status; build on current public process to solicit
additional public feedback
The Existing Museum (30,000 sf) is located in the middle of the current Continue with the current plan, demolishing the existing
available site. The program need for the integrated facility (166,000 sf ) structure. Mitigation options include reuse of existing
consumes the entire property. precast panels
Collections would need to be displaced during construction, putting
collection at risk.

Major Programmatic Challenges

Floor to floor height limitations compromises the new and existing
building interface. The existing F.F. =18’-0” first to second flr. and 13’-0”
second to roof compared to 22’-0” and 16’-0” in the new building
The layout of the existing building entry is poor. The main entry lobby is
too small and the desk is not adequate in size to accommodate the
different functions that it needs to serve. The desk is not in a good
location to provide control over access into the galleries. Galleries on two
floor levels require additional staff for supervision.
Existing plinth height creates circulation and accessibility challenges (F.F.
3’-6”) above grade.
Building location and foundations layout compromises the below grade
parking layout and access.
The front drive and drop-off area is not adequate for school or tour groups

The front lawn lacks power and water to support public events
Existing floor structure is inadequate for proposed floor loading (Library
stacks, Archives, etc…).
Existing mechanical addition would need to be removed to improve the
new and existing building interface.
Occupied basement is only a few feet above high tide.
In general, existing office, exhibit support, and collections support spaces
are substandard and no longer adequate to serve the facility’s mission.

Major Structural Challenges

Structural frame falls well short of current seismic requirements. Complete upgrade of the existing structural frame is
recommended if the existing museum is to be
incorporated within LAM.
Roof is in poor condition; leaks are an ongoing problem; roof assembly
contains asbestos-containing materials

Existing Museum Conditions Summary -- Page - 3

Asbestos containing materials, some friable, are located throughout the Full abatement should be considered a baseline
building. Approximately half to two-thirds of the materials have been assumption.
abated during earlier projects but much of the abatement has been
through encapsulation. Most of the more difficult to reach ACMs remain in
Fire protection systems do not meet modern recommendations for a Complete replacement of fire protection systems is
museum environment. recommended.
Mechanical systems provide the same air to museum galleries, collection Complete replacement of mechanical systems is
space, and offices. Such hybrid systems are expensive to operate and do recommended.
not meet modern recommendations for any of the specific uses.
Plumbing systems include many original pipes that are well beyond their Complete replacement of plumbing is recommended.
useful life. Leaks are common.
The foundation system is supported on heavy timber piles below the Further investigation is recommended if the existing
tideline. While visual observation of the piles was not possible, it is noted museum is to be retained.
that timber piles in saltwater can be assumed to degrade over time.
Main stairs and entry ramp do not meet accessibility (ADA) requirements;
in addition surfaces are in poor condition.
Anchors/connections at exterior concrete panels show signs of corrosion,
as does supporting steel.
Plastic foam insulation at exterior concrete panels is exposed to interior
plenum; not in compliance with current code; poses a safety hazard due to
high flammability and significant smoke generation in fire
Transition of exterior walls from above grade to below grade has been a
consistent source of water intrusion over the life of the building
Internal roof drains encapsulated in building corners have corroded and
are a source of water intrusion; however repair is made extremely difficult
due to the presence of friable asbestos

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