NORTH POLE, Alaska (AP) — Construction is on the rise in North Pole, with several new housing units, a new dental office and a major water utility expansion all in the works, according to city officials.

The number of active building permits in North Pole has nearly doubled in recent years, City Services Director Bill Butler said.

North Pole has more than 30 building permits issued or under development, according to Butler. He said the number of building permits is usually closer to 15 or 20 in a typical year.

Butler said about $15.6 million worth of construction projects are pending in the city of 2,000. That dollar figure excludes the water utility expansion, involving tens of millions of dollars from a court settlement.

Most of the building permits are for new housing. Stepping Stone Builders Inc. is expanding the Eagle Estates Subdivision with hopes of building 39 more units in the next two years.

By the end of the project, the subdivision will boast about 65 houses, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .

Butler said in addition to the construction activity, there are more properties subdividing. The city services director sees potential for even more construction in North Pole in the coming years.

A population boost is expected after new fighter jet squadrons are stationed at Eielson Air Force Base.

Other projects in North Pole include a building remodel for a new eye clinic and another remodel for a dental clinic. An old Blockbuster Video is being remodeled into a real estate office. The middle and high schools in North Pole are also getting improvements, Butler said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com