Irving Building (UAF)

Laurence Irving Building for the Biosciences I and II
Laurence Irving Building
Laurence Irving Building

Fairbanks Campus

Description: 2140 and 2120 Koyukuk Drive

In November 1962, $1.1 million in federal grants, along with general obligation bonds approved by state voters, funded construction of a $2.9 million building on the hill west of the main campus, later to become known as West Ridge, as part of a proposed arctic research park.

In 1963, the state Legislature created the Institute of Arctic Biology as the principal research arm for life scientists in what is now the College of Natural Science and Mathematics. In 1965 the biological sciences facility opened as the first of two buildings in the research park. The second was the Arctic Health Research Center. Elmer Rasmuson, a university regent, described the new buildings as potentially "the center of arctic and subarcticresearch for the free world.” The architectural firm for the Irving Building was Olsen and Sands of Juneau.

In 1971, the university added to the Irving Building to house the Institute of Marine Science. The older part was designated as Biosciences I, and the addition designated Biosciences II. Today, the buildings house laboratories, classrooms and offices for the Institute of Arctic Biology, the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the Institute of Marine Science. On Aug. 16, 1971, the buildings were rededicated in honor of Laurence Irving.

IAB is Alaska’s principal research and educational unit for investigating high-latitude biological systems and providing policy makers with the knowledge necessary to interpret, predict and manage biological systems. IAB research focuses on wildlife, conservation biology, ecology, ecosystems, physiology, evolution, genetics, biomedicine and health science. The Large Animal Research Station, north of campus on Yankovich Road, is an IAB field station and houses breeding colonies of muskoxen, reindeer and caribou.

The Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit operates within IAB. It is partially sustained by state and federal agencies, and it supports faculty and graduate student research projects.

The Institute of Marine Science conducts marine science studies in the world’s oceans, with special emphasis on arctic and Pacific subarctic waters. The faculty provide expertise in marine biology, biological oceanography, physical, chemical and geological oceanography.

Renovation of the Irving Building took place in the summer of 2002. The front glass wall was replaced with glass and insulated panels.


“The Cornerstone on College Hill,” by Terrence Cole; “Laurence Irving Building for Biosciences” dedication program, August 16, 1971; “Ground Breaking Ceremony May 24, 1964” for USPHS Water Pollution Control Laboratory, both from UAF Alaska and Polar Regions Archive; Facilities Services Web page, 2002-03 Construction Overview; University Relations Tour Script 2002; Advancement Services and Academic and Faculty Services.

Notable People: Laurence Irving