Monday, April 6, 2015

Juneau House Build Project...Reboot!

Over the past eight months the Juneau House Build Project has been retooling and preparing for the next wave of development.  After the completion of our Churchill Way project, the partners were still earnestly seeking a parcel of land for this 2014/15 project year.  We vetted over a dozen potential properties but cost remained a barrier to achieving a development costs in sync with our goal of creating affordable housing.   Eventually, we negotiated a very reasonable price for a parcel of land and the wheels began to grind forward.  The House Build partners are happy to announce that we are constructing two new affordable homes on the corner of Lena Loop and Oceanview Drive.

While the land purchase was being fine tuned, we had some other exciting developments.  The University of Alaska Southeast became one of the three, full-fledged, House Build partners, along with the Juneau School District and the Juneau Housing Trust.   Students from several of the University's Construction Technology courses will now be getting their hands dirty on the House Build Project.  This new partnership will also give us access to the fantastic resources of UAS's Technical Education Center and UAS faculty will be managing the construction process. 

Once a building site was identified it allowed us to proceed with the design process.  Lead by UAS Assistant Professor Robin Gilcrist, the team designed two homes to be built at the Lena site.  The homes are efficient, 860sqft, two bedroom, one bath, energy efficient units. Below is a preview of our construction drawings

Last but not least... What have our students been up to?  During fall semester UAS and JSD students worked on a number of projects.  We constructed a Tiny House here inside of the Tech Center, a deck was built for a community member, a mobile green house is underway for the Southeast Conference's Grow Southeast and the Sustainable SE Partnership (Juneau Empire Story), and we prefabricated much of the floor and wall systems for our first unit in Lena.

All in all, our "down time" was anything but down.  The House Build Project is rebooted with some exciting new features and we are excited to get our hands dirty again.  We've broken ground in Lena and expect to be pouring our foundation in the next week.   Here are a few parting shots from the site.  Thanks for following us and keep checking back because the action is about to start!

Justin Fantasia
UAS Assistant Professor of Construction Technology