West Ridge Plaza dedication

Release Date: 
Thursday, May 15, 2008

For Immediate Release

FAIRBANKS, Alaska—The University of Alaska Fairbanks is revitalizing the West Ridge area of campus with an ambitious green space project. The university will celebrate the dedication of West Ridge Plaza on Monday, May 19, 2008, from 1 to 2 p.m.

What was once a road and parking area is being transformed into a greenway bisected by Koyukuk Drive. The revived landscape will provide space for a multitude of activities including teaching, research, studying and recreation. In addition, a sculpture garden will be established in the plaza that will bring art and science together.

The most notable changes to date include the re-installation of a refurbished milepost sign, construction of seating and picnic areas, and new tree and shrub plantings.

The milepost sign was originally erected on West Ridge in 1973 as a symbol of UAF’s Geophysical Institute’s global reach in terms of research and collaboration. Dozens of locales were included on the sign, indicative of the research stations and hometowns of institute scientists and students. James Parry, who was supervisor of the GI Machine Shop at that time, carefully designed the sign, which soon became a popular stop for campus photos. The original Milepost Sign was taken down in 2002, due to a major construction project. The current monument is an updated version of Parry’s original design.

The Circumpolar Learning Habitats are a new concept, and will include a variety of flora unique to the circumpolar North. The learning habitats will surround areas intended for work and study, and will include representative tree species of boreal forests from North America, Scandinavia, and the Far East. In addition, interpretive signage will be installed.

Monday’s dedication ceremony recognizes the work done to date, and will outline the future vision of the plaza. The ceremony will take place at the milepost sign. The Fairbanks and campus communities are invited to join the celebration.

Deb Horner, University Planner, UAF: 907-474-6340, fndgh@uaf.edu