Background of the BBVC

The Name

The BBVC was named in memory of Congressmen Nick Begich of Alaska and Congressmen Hale Boggs of Louisiana. Both men were lost in a 1972 plane crash en route from Anchorage to Juneau.

The Design

Designed by Kramer, Chin and Mayo and constructed by Alaska General of Anchorage.

Construction began in July 1984 and was completed in September of 1985. The BBVC opened to the public in May, 1986.

The Exhibits

The exhibits were initially designed by Gideon Kramer and Associates with final selection and modification by the USDA, Forest Service design team in Washington DC.

The visitor center is 17,600 square feet in size with 4,700 square feet of exhibit space, 3,300 square feet of theater, 6,600 square feet of other space (restrooms, office, workroom, etc), and 3,000 square feet in the basement.

The Building

The original cost of the BBVC was $8.1 million dollars, with $4.5 million spent on design and construction and $3.6 million on exhibits.

The new exhibits are designed by the Sibbet Group of San Francisco, CA. The new design shifted the focus from glaciers to one that incorporates ecosystems of Portage Valley and Prince William Sound.

The current exhibits were installed in the winter and spring of 2001.

The BBVC is heated by a hot water baseboard system fueled by natural gas.

The Learning Center

The Portage Valley Learning Center was built and opened in 2005.