505 South Chandalar Drive
The William Ransom Wood Center was dedicated on Sept. 29, 1972. The building was designed by a UA alumnus to provide students with an antidote to cabin fever. The center features a ballroom and adjoining conference rooms, an eight-lane bowling alley, six pool tables, multilevel lounge, a pub, the Dine Forty-nine main campus cafeteria and Arctic Java coffee shop, and additional lunch vendors. Wood Center also has offices for several UAF departments and student organizations.
The “stairs to nowhere” in the center of the building are there because the Wood Center was originally designed to have three floors, and when construction plans changed due to unforeseen permafrost problems, the stairs had already been built.
In August 2014, the university completed a major expansion on Wood Center’s west side to create a replacement dining facility for the Lola Tilly Commons. The 34,000-square-foot expansion includes the Dine Forty-nine main campus cafeteria on the upper floor and the Arctic Java coffee shop below it.
The center is named after former UA President William Ransom Wood, who came to Fairbanks as president of the University of Alaska in 1960. After his retirement from UA in 1973, he served as mayor of Fairbanks. Wood remained active on the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Trustees. He was also president emeritus. Wood and his wife, Dorothy Jane, were both given honorary doctorates by the University of Alaska Board of Regents in 1990.