A new engineering project between UAA and APU looks to bring the two neighboring communities a little bit closer. Civil engineering students from UAA recently had the opportunity to travel up to the APU Thomas Training Center on the Eagle Glacier. The facility, nearly 5,000ft high up in the Chugach, gives APU Nordic athletes the ability to train on snow even during the summer months. UAA students along with a professional survey team took a look at the current facility after APU expressed a need for a building and water work upgrades.
The project all started in UAA professor Dr. Osama Abaza’s Senior Capstone Class. In the class, students work hands-on as an engineering consultant team for major clients in the Anchorage community. Out of the 13 different client projects that were presented to the class, a group of interested students took on the APU Eagle Glacier project.
“APU is one of the clients that addressed us to approach this issue.” Dr. Abaza said about the project.
“The Facility has lost a source of water and we’re trying to return this source of water. The other issue is the structure on-site which needs to be upgraded to meet the needs of those who use the facility.”
This project not only benefits UAA engineering students by giving them the real world engineering experience, but also helps benefit the APU Nordic Ski Team.
Erik Flora has been the director and head coach of APU Nordic for 10 years. For him, the Eagle Glacier facility has been fundamental in training of the world class athletes that APU produces.
“Eagle is an amazing resource for Alaskan and US skiers. It has made it possible for our Alaskan and US athletes to be competitive internationally. In the last decade, all of the best International results at Olympic and World Cup events have come from athletes who have trained on Eagle Glacier. Our goal with this project is to learn about potential opportunities to refine our operation.”
Dr. Abaza’s students are already close to submitting a design study report and plan set for the project. By the 22nd of April they plan to have a public presentation that addresses their proposal for the project.
When asked about future engineering collaboration with APU Dr. Abaza responded enthusiastically.
“This is not simply a onetime thing. We would like to keep the connection. We are their neighbors, and we share a lot with our neighbors.”