UAA students and staff have probably noticed construction occurring at the Wells-Fargo Gym and former Taniaina site. The Tanaina Child Development Center remains abandoned after the program was cut in March of this year, due to UAA budgetary restrictions. However construction has begun across the entire complex. In order to find out if the two events were related, KRUA’s news reporter, Anna Lande, spoke to UAA’s Athletic Director, Keith Hackett, and Tanaina CDC Executive Director, Stefanie O’ Brien.
Hackett projected the dates of the Wells-Fargo gym construction, “It’s not going to open until mid-September, but we’re hoping it will open a little earlier than that.” Hackett also detailed the renovations that would take place inside the building. “Well I tell you, it’s going to be a complete remodel of the Wells Fargo Sports Center. Extensive upstairs repairs..Another studio for yoga or other things and a studio for bikes.”
While Hackett gave a very thorough description of the expected Wells Fargo Gym Facility, he did not know what was going to happen with the Tanaina CDC. Hackett stated the athletic department was not, “going to have any access.”
For those unfamiliar with the circumstances around Tanaina’s removal of campus, beginning in February UAA gave Tanaina an eviction notice. UAA did form a task force to try retain Tanaina’s presence on the UAA campus, but O’Brien stated “the closer it got to the deadline the meetings became less and less productive.”
Tanaina was able to form a relationship with St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and are situated there for the coming year. As the removal of Tanaina CDC coincided with the construction the Wells Fargo gym complex one could presume the events were related. However, they weren’t.
John Faunce, head of UAA Facilities Planning and Construction stated, “The former Tanaina site will be replaced with the student affairs offices at the University Center.” The University Center hosts the student one-stop which covers student advisors, financial aid, and registration. The remodeling was meant to be completed by October, but those dates have been extended. Despite their removal, Tanaina wishes to retain its ties with the University.