The SPRP Project: An Overview

by John H. Rand, South Pole Proj. Engr.; Natl. Sci. Foundation, U.S. Army Engr. Res. and Development Ctr., Cold Regions Res. and Engrg. Lab., Hanover, NH,
Frank Brier, Proj. Mgr.; NSF, Ofc. of Polar Programs, South Pole Modernization Proj., Arlington, VA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2000, Vol. 70, Issue 12, Pg. 34-37

Document Type: Feature article


The National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs (OPP), the lead agency for the U.S. Antarctic Program, has begun construction of a replacement station for the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station at the geographic South Pole, Antarctic. The existing facilities of the station�the most remote outpost on earth�were completed in 1975 and are reaching the end of their useful life as a consequence of growth, changes in polar research, and the harsh environment. The challenges involved in this project are quite simply staggering: Temperatures can plummet to �117�F (-82.8 degrees Celsius) during the austral winter, and because hydraulic fluid freezes at �65�, planes bearing supplies can fly in only in the summer months, from November to February. Nonetheless, the complex project is on track for a 2005 completion, when the new station will feature a pail of C-shaped, two-story modules that are elevated and can be further jacked to allow snow drifts to pass underneath, thus extending the life of the structure; as well as a remote science facility, an enclosed cargo and storage facility, and a remote satellite communication facility.

Subject Headings: Storage facilities | Project management | Winter | Temperature effects | Snow | Satellites | Low-rise buildings

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