‘Master Plan’ molds UAA campus infrastructure

The “Master Plan” is a broad spectrum of renovation ideas for UAA. Headed by master planner Lonnie Mansell, a team of about 30 architects, engineers and planners are currently preparing blueprints that will shape the campus’ future.

The Master Plan team designs future buildings, parking lots, sky bridges, pedestrian transportation, vehicular circulation and campus greenery.

“The UA system, as well as the campus, come up with an academic plan, an overall strategic plan — and then there are a bunch of smaller plans underneath those that that make it all happen,” Mansell said, explaining the structure of the Master Plan. “The Master Plan is the physical infrastructure that makes it all happen.”

The plan has been divided to focus on immediate, short-term, and long-term goals for the campus. Respectively, those terms imply less than 10-year, 10 to 30-year, and 30-plus year goals.

“Right now, we’re (shaped) like a dumbbell or a dog bone. We’re elongated like that,” Mansell said, explaining the juxtaposition of UAA’s buildings.

One major goal of the plan is to redesign the inner matrix of the campus so it can fill more open space while still using roughly the same amount of total acreage. Mansell used the word “densify” to explain the plans for the campus.

Densifying the campus would not only conserve space and preserve the greenery that envelops the school, but it would also allow for more sky bridges.

Densifying also includes adding buildings in close proximity to each other, which will allow cheaper sky bridge possibilities. The ability to keep sky bridges short will save money in heating costs, allowing for more warm walking solutions for students.

There is a feedback page on the UAA Master Plan Blogspot page where individuals can leave any suggestions or input they like.

The Master Plan team not only reads these suggestions, they particularly appreciate them.

Also, the sports arena is currently being built. Its developments can be followed at

Varying greatly in importance and cost, listed below are several possible features of the Master Plan, provided by Mansell.



UAA purchased a small parcel of land on the southeast corner of Lake Otis and Providence. It will be developed with time.

Most satellite buildings on the far west end of campus will likely be left alone, particularly the Professional Studies Building.

“One of the things we want to do with west campus is to maintain the look and feel of the old Anchorage Community College, so keeping that quad and the honeycomb of sidewalks there is important to that look,” Mansell said.



Because of the buildings’ distance from main campus, it is questionable whether sky bridges will ever reach the art building and ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building.

If the sky bridge ever does reach ConocoPhillips, it would connect to the SSB through one or more new buildings. While this is possible, sky bridges are exceptionally expensive to heat, and the option of adding more is being heavily weighed by planning teams.

Currently, the only plans that are in the final approval stages are a series of engineering expansions. These expansions include a new engineering building, a new garage and a complete renovation of the existing engineering building.

If approved, design for the engineering expansions will be finished within the next year and construction should begin in summer 2014. Mansell and his team are hoping to receive final approval from the Board of Regents within the next week.

The Master Plan team would like to see Health and Science Building Phase Two initiated. This would include an additional building and likely another parking garage, all connected by a sky bridge.



The team would like to construct a loop road that follows the entire perimeter of the campus for pedestrians and shuttle traffic. Coupled directly next to this, they would like to see a foot traffic trail.

Mansell also mentioned a possible diagonal overpass connecting the upcoming sports arena and the Consortium Library.

Written by Keldon Irwin

I am a psychology major at UAA with the eventual goal of acquiring a Ph.D in psychology or becoming a psychiatrist. I should graduate with a B.S. in psychology in '16. While I do have a passion for news and a particular passion for writing, I do not see a career for myself with news in the future - so I do this for fun and extra spending money. I am a liiiiiitle bit of a music nut and my record collection most definitely shows that. I moved to Alaska from California in December '11 and fell in love with it here. Being born here in '94 and leaving as early as '95, I've always wanted to come back. UAA is an extreme step up from the community college that I previously attended and I am very content here.