News Briefs

Integrated Science Building gets its topping

The University of Alaska Anchorage and Cornerstone Construction Company paused to celebrate progress on the Integrated Science Building with a “Topping Out” Ceremony Oct. 12 at the nearby Administration and Humanities Building.

Topping out – a term used by ironworkers to indicate that the final piece of steel has been hoisted into place on a structure – means the building has reached its maximum height.

The topping out of a building symbolizes the 25 percent completion mark. The skeletal system of the structure is essentially complete. Workers are now beginning to install the rest of the building’s systems. Construction is scheduled for completion in June 2009; the building will open its doors in September 2009.

The 120,000-square-feet building will include of up-to-date offices and workspace and state-of-the-art teaching laboratories. Features will also include a planetarium, biomedical research lab and a 445-stall parking garage.

Science programs are among the fastest-growing programs on campus. Enrollment in UAA’s science programs has grown more than 27 percent in the past decade, outpacing enrollment growth in the rest of the University by 15 percent.

Planned Parenthood club returns

The UAA chapter of VOX, Voices of Planned Parenthood, is back to business on campus. This time around, the club is enabling students to speak out and get involved.

Its current primary focus is the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that went into effect in January. VOX asserts the Act made the prices of birth control devices double and triple on university campuses in recent months. VOX is currently working on getting the prices reduced at university health clinics and safety net family planning clinics by initiating a letter-writing campaign to Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Disability employment awareness month

- Advertisement -

Photos chronicling the Disability Rights Movement are on display at the Consortium Library for the National Disability Employment Awareness Month of October.

Issues that the Disability Rights Movement currently faces include one of employment: Only 56 percent of people age 21 to 64 having some type of disability were employed in the past year even though 88 percent of people without a disability were able to find employment.

Seawolf debaters succeed in California

The Seawolf Debate Team started its season where it left off last season: winning. On Oct. 6 and 7, four UAA debaters traveled to Southern California to kick off the squad’s season at the U.S. Universities National Open hosted by the Claremont Colleges. Sixty-four debaters representing more than 10 colleges participated in the event.

Public policy topics debated ranged from whether the media should be restricted during times of national emergencies, whether international trade of nuclear energy technology should be encouraged and whether indigenous people should have exclusive control of their archeological sites.

Senior Mike Rose and junior Ben Ferguson reached the semifinal round, placing them among the top eight teams at the tournament. Meanwhile, senior David Childers and junior James Stinson joined three other teams in the championship round of competition.

The team is focusing on preparation for the World Championships held in Bangkok over the holiday break.

Geriatric center receives million-dollar grant

A three-year $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration was awarded recently to UA. The funding will help continue the training of health care providers of Alaska’s aging population.

This new three-year grant refunds the Alaska Geriatric Education Center. The main site will continue to be housed at UAA in Anchorage with satellite branches located at the UAS Sitka campus and UAF. A new partner for this grant cycle includes the Alaska Rural Behavioral Health Training Academy. These consortium partners will operate the center.

Alaska’s aging population is expected to increase by 60 percent over the next 20 years. Experts say this will create critical shortages in the health care workforce.

Weatherization program now enrolling

Free weatherization and energy upgrades are available to qualifying Anchorage households to help residents save on energy costs. Weatherization assistance can include air seals and weather stripping, insulating attics and basements, and installing bathroom fans and range hoods to remove damaging moisture.

About 200 Anchorage residents are assisted through the program annually. To qualify, a family of four must have a total household annual income of less than $45,936.