Construction photo index

2022 winter
Berthing and floor maintenance
COVID happened! And not much else, even in the pre-COVID 2020 winter
2019-20 Summer
BICEP Array!
2018-19 Summer
New SATCOM stuff...
Aerial photos--November!!
2018 Winter
A3 subfloor replacement
2017-18 Summer
DSCS shelter/snow blower/stepping down
Widening the ice tunnels
The ice tunnel escape raise project
Expanding the Askaryan Radio Array
Aerial photos--January
2017 Winter
Plumbing, mechanical, flooring, carpet...
2016-17 Summer
Making stuff go away--the BIF, etc...
...and the construction shop Jamesways
The next carpenter shop
Finishing out the BIF
Aerial photos--December
2016 Winter
A2 hall floor replacement and other stories
Cryo-->BIF conversion
2015 Winter
Rebuilding the ice tunnel warmup shack
Rodwell recovery
The South Pole Ice Core project
Moving CRYO
VIPER telescope platform demo
The new shredder and other stories
Old Pole remediation continued again...
...and rework of the station/beer can doors
Rodwell and sewer work
Ice tunnel rehab
Summer camp downsizing
Aerial photos--January
Introduction and smaller projects
The SuperDARN system
Askaryan Radio Array 2012-13
Fuel arch egress extension
Power plant air intake extension
The Lorentz Invariance Project
Old Pole remediation (continued...)
Aerial photos--January/February
Visitors Center for the tourists!
Green energy improvements
A robot looks at Old Pole
Fuel lines and other stuff
The Askaryan Radio Array
McMurdo Ship Offload 2012
Aerial photos--February
Urban Renewal III: Old Pole is gone
The Askaryan Radio Array
Repairing the South Pole Telescope
Tearing down AST/RO...fixing up DNF
Aerial photos--January/February
Dome Deconstruction, skylab/preliminaries
Dome Deconstruction, the demo itself
Siding and Science and Such
Alternative energy at Pole
Urban Renewal II: Old Pole strikes back
McMurdo...the bowling alley demo
McMurdo...painting 155 and other demo
Aerial photos--February
2009 Winter
Up on the roof
Urban Renewal I (digging up Old Pole)
Lighting the LO
Logistics facility
Aircraft Fueling Module
Station siding/met tower
Alternative energy
Aerial photos--February
Aerial photos--early season
2008 Winter
Logistics facility (LO)
Those doors into the beer can
The LO at the end of the winter
Old power plant demo
Down with the Dome entrance sign
Deconstruction/cargo arch
A blue room...
New logistics facility (LO)
LO building/arch, late season
Pretty stuff, siding, snowdrifts
A solar observatory in the dark sector
SPTR-2 earth station base structure
Aerial photos--January
Aerial photos--early season
2007 Winter
Power Plant/Garage Demo
Gym finishing/time capsule
Another water well
The "skiway relocation"
Removing the Viper telescope
Remembering VIPER
Aerial photos--February
Aerial photos--early season
2006 Winter
Dome demo--annex
Dome demo--comms
Cryo and other miscellany
B2 science lab
Wing B3
B4 gym
New cryo
Biomed Arch raising
IceCube Laboratory
DSL/BICEP Telescope Installation
DSL/South Pole Telescope (SPT)
Aerial photos-January
Aerial photos--early season
2005 Winter
B2 science lab
B4 gym
The rest of B4
Dome Galley demo
Biomed demo
New cryo
End-of-summer station photo
New radome
A3 medical and greenhouse
Early season construction
Aerial photos--January
Aerial photos--early season
Exterior shots
Inside B2/B3
Inside A3
Freshie shack demo
Weight room demo
Aerial photos
A1/A2 interior finish
B3/B1 foundation erection
SPRESSO project completion
Dark Sector Laboratory (DSL)
Aerial photos
A3 and B2 erection
Inside A1, A2, and the vertical tower
New water well
SPRESSO drill site
Aerial photos
2001 Winter
Elevated station interior
Ice tunnel piping
Elevated station A1 and A2
Power plant completion
MARISAT/GOES antenna and platform
Aerial photos
New power plant (soon...)
Passageways and vertical tower
Dark sector laboratory
Ice tunnels (3 year project)
Fuel arch tank replacement
New garage
New garage arch
Raising the old garage/LO arch
The South Pole TDRS Relay
Old Clean Air Facility demo
Installing the VIPER telescope
New Balloon Inflation/Cryo Facilities
Balloon Inflation Tower (BIT) demo
Cargo/Helium Arch Removal
New Clean Air Facility/ARO completed
A new Clean Air (part 1)

The New South Pole Station

the real elevated station

Above, as of October 2007, how it really turned out.

Below, the artist's conception from 10 years ago...

elevated station

Below, an earlier version with three pods, the C pod was to be future, and it later disappeared from the plans, and the skiway got moved.

three of a kind

During the 1980s NSF asked ITT/ANS for their thoughts on the new station, although in reality most of the early planning was done by Metcalf & Eddy. What you see below is one of several concepts worked up by drafter Dan Bauer and myself in 1987. We had a couple of different ideas using more arches, and a couple, including this one, involving elevated structures. What was on the mind here was that ITT had a fair amount of experience with operating, jacking and moving the huge DYE-site radar structures located on the Greenland icecap. Another of our ideas included a single larger square "Texas Tower" structure located about where the elevated station is now. For some reason all of our concepts provided for reusing the arches, and none of them included the dome.


The principal impetus that finally got the new station off of the drawing boards was the 1997 "Augustine Report," which is more formally known as the "The United States in Antarctica--Report of the U. S. Antarctic Program External Panel." This report, commissioned by NSF, chartered 11 non-NSF people to provide recommendations to guide the program into the 21st century. The full report is available on the NSF website.

The top image is an aerial photo of the elevated station taken on 26 October 2007 by w/o Emrys Hall (USAP photo library). Below that are a couple of NSF's conceptual drawings of the new station. The first drawing is by T. Vaughan; both artist's conceptions are from Ferraro Choi and Associates. This is a 2-story structure with the "leading edge" facing the prevailing wind. The steel structure is elevated 10' above the initial graded snow surface, supported by many 36" heavywall pipe piles. These are designed to allow the structure to be jacked up in the future. Unlike the original elevated CAF, the jacking system was included in the design; it was even tested at the fabricator's shop before the material was shipped. In the conceptual views the ceremonial Pole is shown in the lower left corner, near a line of Pole survey markers.

As with the older domed station, preliminary design studies included various scale model structures which were set up at Pole so the drift patterns could be monitored. However, the detailed design of the aerodynamic leading edge included some sophisticated wind tunnel studies so that the design could be optimized.

The elevated structure now finally includes the dining area, lounges, a gym, medical, lab and computer spaces, offices and meeting rooms, and an emergency power plant, as well as berthing rooms for 154 people (the expansion to 154 spaces was funded in FY 2003). The structure has a total floor area of about 65,000 SF; the PRIVATE rooms for w/o's are 9'-8"x 8' and the rooms for summer folks are 9'-8"x 6'. Some of the rooms have (less-than 100% soundproof) demountable partitions so that couples can share a 2-person room. Many of these rooms include WINDOWS which were tested in CRREL's cold chambers for suitability at Pole's harsh temperatures. Another important feature of the station is that the emergency section of the station is isolated by thick insulation so that other portions of the facility can be winterized during emergencies when energy supplies are limited. Unlike the ATCO modules of the domed station, this structure has been designed and built to provide lighting, heating/ventilation, and fire protection, all in full compliance with current US building and safety codes. The original plan was that this berthing capacity would eliminate the need for the labor-intensive summer camp which must be frequently excavated, dug out, and moved...but given the planned construction schedule for ICECUBE, the 10m telescope, as well as completion of the elevated station, summer camp may be with us for a few years yet. Of course when the Dome was built to house the HUGE crowd of 33 people (expanded to 40 when the Annex was added), everyone thought there would be no need for summer camp...yeah, right.

The power plant, supply areas, garage and fuel storage are in buried arches, reused from the original station--some of these are being jacked up a few feet to align with the new arches, but all of these will soon be buried again as they were before construction started. The buried portion of the station is connected to the elevated structure with a cylindrical stair tower with 94 steps, equivalent to the 4-story climb to the top of the old Skylab (gasp). The old dome and skylab structures are being removed as the new facilities are completed, and all of the old materials will be removed from the continent in accordance with the Madrid Protocol environmental guidelines.

site plan

The planning and design process took many years of studies, reviews, and research--NSF needed to do the best job it could to provide a facility that would meet the long-range requirements, be constructible given the harsh site conditions, and be "sellable" to Congress. All of the detailed work paid off--the project received full funding including the expanded berthing ($150+ million).

At left is a 2000-era overall site plan for the station and its environs. Here are larger views, more information about this drawing, and links to features and more details. And recently I've added some 2005-2008 area maps, site plans and layouts, starting here.

the dome is gone

At right is a closeup view of the main part of the station showing the new structures (unlike the site plan, this view is inverted with grid south at the top). The garage/shop building was completed in December 1999, and most of the fuel arch work was done the previous summer season. The power plant interior work was completed during the 2000 winter, and the unit is went on line in January 2001 (see my power plant pages for a historical perspective on the power plant). The first part of the elevated structure to be erected was sections A1/A2 (the portions closest to the new power plant). This included 50 berthing rooms and the new galley, which were erected and enclosed during the 2000-'01 summer. Winter interior buildout continued during the 2001 winter. Completion and occupancy was originally scheduled for the 2001-02 summer (along with erection and enclosing of sections A3 and B2). A3 and B2 were erected on schedule, but completion and beneficial occupancy of A1/A2 was delayed because of flight cancellations as well as problems with differential settlement. The differential settlement, which exceeded that calculated by the foundation designers, affected the utility connections between the buried and elevated portions of the station, and it also affected the wall coverings in the new structure.

In 2002-2003, the first construction effort was to jack and level the A pod, so as to allow completion of the utility connections and the final interior buildout. Fortunately, a detailed analysis of the station settlement data pointed to construction issues, such as point overloading caused by the temporary snow ramps which provided access to the construction areas) rather than problems with the original foundation design; now the general consensus is that the station foundations will perform satisfactorily over the long term.

Meanwhile, the interior punchlist work on A1/A2 continued, and after the jacking, erection started on B3, the last "front" portion of the station. The plan was to complete and enclose B3, but some of the steel framing was damaged and had to be work turned to beginning foundation work on B1.

The plan was to achieve conditional acceptance for occupancy before station closing, but a last-minute glitch with the fire alarm systems required a slight delay. This was literally a "last-minute" problem, as at the scheduled time for station closing, the fire system tech reps had to be called back from McMurdo (where they were awaiting their CHC flight) and the cargoids in McM had to dig out and ship replacement parts cannibalized from the B pod fire alarm system. Fortunately and due to lots of hard work, the problems were fixed and occupancy of A1/A2 was approved on 4 March 3003 (Pole time).

Work continued during the 2003 winter on section A3. During the 2003-04 summer this space was officially accepted and occupied--providing the new medical facility, library, computer work area (cube farm!), laundry, and store/post office. Meanwhile, the B1 (berthing and emergency facilities/power plant) and B3 (communications and admin area) wings were erected and enclosed; foundations were put up for the last two pods A4 and B4, and work continued in the B2 science spaces. B2 was accepted and occupied beginning January 2005, and the final 3 wings (B3, A4 and B4) were occupied during the 2005-06 summer.

Dimensional note, for the elevated station, each "finger" is about 100'x 38', and the two linear sections A2/A3 and B2/B3 are each about 185'x48'. The supplemental berthing approved in FY2003 produced the complete pod A4. (The graphic above/right was prepared from NSF materials by Joel Michalski during his 1999 winter at Pole).

on schedule under budget

At left is one of NSF's summary schedule diagrams (this one from 2003-04), indicating the phased construction of the buried and above-ground facilities. An early version of this diagram and the rest of the detailed schedules were presented by NSF program manager Frank Brier to the support contract bidders in September, 1998; this is that original detailed timeline.

In addition to the construction photos indexed at the top left of this page, more construction photos are on the timeline pages starting here, have a look...