Duo-Gard’s Sleekline Canopy Serves the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Last year, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) in Anchorage decided to enhance the entrance to its Healthy Communities building with a canopy to improve the drop-off zone as well as the flow of traffic.

“We wanted a sheltered area for shuttles and their waiting passengers with protection to minimize the risks of ice and snow,” says the Consortium’s senior facilities engineer, Agneta Kupilik PE.

Other considerations were important, says Dale Smythe AIA, senior architect and project manager at Bettisworth North Architects and Planners: “The owners wanted a canopy that was clean and sleek with contemporary aesthetics that complemented the existing facility.” And they wanted a sole provider who could handle the entire project, including the steel columns needed for the cantilevered structure.

Today, ANTHC and those it serves enjoy a 93’6” x 22’6” canopy engineered and fabricated with Duo-Gard’s patented – and aptly named – Sleekline System. The system integrates translucent monolithic polycarbonate glazing panels with aluminum framing, supported by 16x16x5/8 HSS columns. All fabricated at Duo-Gard’s in-house steel facility, recently awarded AISC certification. This was one of the largest steel projects in terms of member sizes Duo-Gard has fabricated and shipped.

The white, ¼” thick monolithic polycarbonate panels allow a high degree of diffused natural light while providing a pleasing aesthetic from the windows above, as stipulated by the owners, according to architect Smythe.

“The level of collaboration on this project was exceptional,” says Duo-Gard’s Mike Merritt, director of operations and structural engineer. “We worked with Bettisworth North beginning in the conceptual design stage to discover and develop what was possible, given the loading issues and strict requirements involved regarding snow, wind and seismic concerns.”

There were challenges, of course. “Engineering the connection to attach the beams to the columns involved tight tolerances,” says Duo-Gard’s Joe Furton, engineering manager – architectural division. “We used steel rods to tie the beams to the columns. This had to be precise.” The engineers also had to ensure alignment with the existing building and accommodation of the existing sidewalk, adds Smythe.

Once the fabrication was complete, there was a two week shipping journey from Canton, Michigan to Anchorage, Alaska for the 62,867 pounds of polycarbonate, steel and aluminum. It involved two full flatbed Conestoga trucks from Canton to Seattle, where the shipment was reloaded by crane to two other trucks, then driven onto a barge headed for Anchorage and finally dropped off at the jobsite.

“Duo-Gard’s team took a lot of time and great care packaging and staging the materials to prevent any damage during transit,” says Dianne Salata, senior project manager. According to Merritt, the successful delivery of the shipment demonstrates Duo-Gard’s continuing commitment to quality control.

“We’re pleased with the way the canopy turned out,” says Dale Smythe. “It looks very nice and seems to have served its purpose well in its first season, given the heavy snowfall Anchorage received this past winter.”

Located on the Alaska Native Health Campus, ANTHC provides a comprehensive range of services with a 173-bed hospital, medical specialties, prevention, rural health and engineering services and an extensive laboratory. It was Alaska’s first Level II Trauma Center.

General contractor for the project was Roger Hickel Contracting in Anchorage.

Photos courtesy of Bettisworth North Architects and Planners

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