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 | Lifeline systems | Commercial buildings | Aging (material) | Federal government | Construction management | Existing buildings | Temperature effects

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