Joseph E. Usibelli Engineering Learning and Innovation Building
1764 Tanana Loop
UAF photos by Sierra Coley
Nestled between the Duckering and Bunnell buildings, the Joseph E. Usibelli Engineering Learning and Innovation Building provides a modern space for learning and discovery. The six-story building features a 48-foot high-bay area for tall projects, a strong floor for testing extremely heavy items, a cold room and 40 new laboratories. The construction created 119,000 square feet of new space and renovated about 30,000 square feet of existing space in the Duckering Building. Schaible Auditorium, formerly a part of the Bunnell Building, is now accessible through the lobby of the new facility. The building’s exterior is mainly glass and steel. It meets the silver standard set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
Construction began on April 1, 2013, and the building was expected to be finished by fall 2015. However, the initial state funding was insufficient to complete the job, and work on the facility stopped in August 2015. With help from private donors, more state funding and a revenue bond, the university by 2016 had enough money to finish the job. The first classes in the building were held in January 2018.
On Aug. 4, 2022, the university named the building after Joseph E. Usibelli, a 1959 graduate who became president of Usibelli Coal Mine in Healy five years later. He served as president until 1987, when he turned over the position to his son. He remained as board chairman until his death in May 2022. Support from the Usibelli family and mine helped finish construction of the building. Usibelli also contributed to numerous other university initiatives.