To deliver a 146,900-sq-ft health care facility that would serve western Alaska, the team faced extreme weather conditions in a remote location.

There are no roads to Nome, Alaska, so all material and labor was transported by airplane or an over-water barge system. With approximately 11.5 million lb of freight and hundreds of workers required, the team faced considerable planning and scheduling challenges.

Only four barge shipments per year were available, so anything that did not make the barge would have to be shipped by air cargo at a much greater expense. Materials were ordered more than six months in advance and stored at the marine terminal for several months while awaiting transport.

Due to the severe weather conditions, there were only four months on average to complete outside work. The extreme winters brought frequent high winds off the Bering Sea and temperatures as low as minus 40˚F.

Because Nome has no concrete manufacturing plant, all concrete was made with a portable batch plant.

The foundation was constructed on permafrost with arctic-steel pilings. In order for the pilings to be stabilized, the ground had to remain frozen.

The $104-million project was completed on time and on budget in November 2012.


Norton Sound Regional Hospital, Nome, Alaska

Key Players

Owner Indian Health Services Division of Engineering Services

Architect Kumin Associates; Mahlum Associates

General Contractor INUIT-NCI, Joint Venture

Structural Engineer BBFM Engineers

Civil Engineer Bristol Environmental

MEP Engineer Notkin Mechanical Engineers

Electrical Engineer Sparling

Steel Framing and Wall All Wall Contracting