June 4, 2022

Moving Stuff In

A big crew worked yesterday and today to bring three truckloads of stuff to the church from storage.

Some of it went into offices and RE classrooms.

The boxes of books went to the third floor for the librarian to sort through.

Chairs and pews now sit in rows in the sanctuary.

Kitchen stuff is now stacked on the counters and spilling out into Fellowship Hall.

The elevator got heavy use hauling stuff up and down. It worked most of the time but not always. The elevator balked when they tried to take this heavy cabinet to the third floor, so they settled for second. It refused again when they tried to take three heavy carts of books to third. Ken stepped out on second, to let the other two proceed up to third.

There are still big stacks of stuff in Fellowship Hall that need to find an appropriate place. That will be our task over the next week, as we look forward to resuming in-person services soon. For the moment, there was room among the piles of stuff to sit, rest and talk.

May 23, 2022

Starting to Move Stuff In

Our building construction project is coming to an end. Last Friday we received a temporary occupancy permit from the city. This means that we can begin to move some stuff into the church and addition, while some finishing steps of construction proceed. Most of the remaining construction tasks are small things, but at least one is big – painting the exterior of the addition as soon as weather permits.

One item we wanted to move in right away was the triptych, the three large paintings that set the mood of the front of the sanctuary. They are big – a bit over 6 feet by 8 feet each and weigh very little. When we moved them out to Judy Lalonde’s basement over a year ago for storage, they rode in her alpaca trailer. She sold the trailer, so we needed alternative transportation. We used my little utility trailer. The paintings were wrapped in an old carpet, separated by bedsheets, wrapped again in a tarp, and bound with my entire collection of NRS straps.

The paintings survived the ordeal with no damage. With the triptych back on the wall it looks much more like home. Rev. Elizabeth hopes to do next Sunday’s service from the church – just her and a few tech people in the church and the rest of us watching via Zoom. It will be several weeks yet before we get enough stuff moved in before we can do in-person services.

May 18, 2022

Health & Safety, Other Details

We are edging very close to qualifying for an “occupancy Permit” which we need before we begin to move stuff back into the building. The city focuses on health and safety when deciding when we can move in, and we still have two issues. First, the elevator is supposed to stop gently at floors and depart smoothly. It presently jolts to a start or stop. The installers are working on it but haven’t quite fixed it.

The second issue is with the main door openers. The openers for the front entry vestibule should permit someone in a wheelchair to open both doors with a push-button. The outer door and the inner door openers are presently not communicating correctly.

Experts are working on both of these issues, and they should be resolved within days. Then we can begin the process of removing stuff from storage and figuring out where it goes in our new church building.

That doesn’t mean that everything is done yet. Finishing-up tasks – those that aren’t considered health and safety – will continue for some time. One example that was finished while I was gone this past week is the doorway into the balcony. The new paint really dresses up this doorway that was cut through the metal ceiling. Overhead, more blue paint has hidden the ceiling scar where the second floor office wall was removed.

This box contains the accordion-fold door that will separate the double classrooms. It may be a small finish-up task, but it is a heavy door. They had to rent a forklift to get it off the truck.

Roger was working this morning to install this pot rack above the island cabinet in the kitchen. There was also touchup painting going on in the kitchen around the pass-through window.

The new sliding door into the kitchen was saved as the last door to install. (I haven’t counted the doors in this project – but there must be at least 50 swinging doors and perhaps 12 sliding closet doors.) A sliding door is quite a different beast than a swinging door.

Sam, our music director, and de-facto tech expert has been working hard to install the hardware that will be needed as we move to hybrid services – both in-person and available on the internet. Thanks, Sam.

May 6, 2022

Elevator, Little Things

The big thing is that we have a functional elevator. The elevator passed its inspection yesterday and is now ready to use. They ran it up and down several times with a ton of weights, so we can feel safe riding it. Roger took this picture to document that I claimed the honor of being the first non-construction worker to ride the UUCP elevator.

It is getting hard to take pictures for the blog. Much of what is going on are little things – trim work, door weather strips, paint patch-up, the many inspections, etc. They may be little things, but they always take more time than expected.

One thing I’ve been waiting for is the finishing of the passage into the balcony. It was months ago when they cut a passage from the addition through the walls and through the curved edge of the blue metal sanctuary ceiling. It was a necessary step, but I worried about how it would look. They very carefully removed sections of the metal, removing brad nails every few inches along the borders. Yesterday they fastened the salvaged panels and trim strips back in place. I admit, it still looks rough, but that’s only the paint flaking off at the edges – the metal is smooth. With some more prep work and some new blue paint I expect it to look beautiful. The scar to the right where the office wall was removed will also get paint early next week.

With the stoves and dishwasher in place, this now looks like a kitchen. The drawers have facings now and the cupboards have doors , and even handles. Several will get locks. The island cabinet will get a stainless-steel surface, and a hanging pot rack above.

It took me a while to identify this recently delivered package. It is another post like the ones that support the glass balcony railing. This one will be mounted at the step down to the lower balcony floor level. It will be a warning that there’s a step ahead and a handhold as one steps down.

This is what the UUCP looks like from the 1912 Center parking lot. Some day it will quit raining and warm up so they can paint the addition, but we don’t have to wait for that to occupy the building. We expect to get a temporary occupancy permit, with a list of finish details that the contractor promises to do post-contract. The exact date is a moving target, but it is tantalizingly close.

May 2, 2022

Floor, Railings, Parking Stripes

We have been traveling for 10 days, so it is interesting to see the building progress. The biggest thing is the sanctuary floor which has been sanded and refinished. It is beautiful.

This is the view looking forward from the new balcony. The handrails are now in place along the ADA ramp and at each end of the steps. (Handrails have also been mounted on one side of the stairs in the addition.) Roger is working on the door that will become the NE exit door from the sanctuary.

Here is the frame where the exit door will fit. It is interesting to try to visualize how the church must have looked many years ago when this was a window with a Gothic arch, and there was another matching window in what is now the NW closet.

Outside, steps have been added to the landing, and they are assembling the handrail.

This is the view across the AV booth through the glass panel that separates the booth from the old entry to the sanctuary. Operators will have a good view of the stage. I expect the bench will soon fill up with AV equipment.

Lines were painted this morning to mark the spaces in our parking lot. There are arrows to show the direction cars should travel, and signs at entry and exit will reinforce that flow.

April 18, 2022

Quilts, Floor Refinishing, Kitchen

We hung two quilts over the weekend because we needed to use the scaffolding before floor refinishing started on Monday. The scaffolding was essential because the tip of the quilts extend about 16 feet up. For some reason part of the wall at the top of the arch was still painted yellow, which peeked around the tip of the quilt. Archie George located the painter’s supply of blue paint and applied blue in the arch so the yellow won’t show. The blue dried overnight, and Archie, Mary George, Steve Flint and I came Saturday morning to hang the quilts. Archie is most comfortable working up high, and Mary got to judge whether we were getting it straight.

The reason we were comfortable hanging the quilts before work started on the floor is because the refinisher has a reputation of working almost dust-free. Here he’s getting started picking up construction dust with his super vacuum cleaner.

Mid afternoon when I stopped by, he had made a first pass with the sander over about 75% of the floor area. This is tedious work. I tried it once years ago. It is essential (but difficult) to keep a constant pace – otherwise the sander digs a gouge. Adding to the challenge, the old finish gums up the sandpaper drums.

They are installing appliances in the kitchen. Two stoves, two hoods, and the commercial dishwasher all arrived last week. It makes sense to put the exhaust hoods in place first, before the stoves get in the way.  

The plumbing for the hoods is not a simple matter. The 8-inch pipes head up into the closet in the northeast corner of the sanctuary, and then exit about 10 feet up on the north wall of the church.

The hoods are waiting for the electrician to make the electrical connection. It’s an interesting dance as different subcontractors do different parts of the same project.

It is a challenging geometry problem to fabricate a 2-layer slab countertop to avoid wasting expensive particle board, to fit into the 45-degree corner, but to arrange it so the sheets lap over each other to make a strong joint. The slab will get a laminate surface to make a countertop in the secretary’s office.

I was heard a rumor that the handrails for the stairways and the stage may arrive tomorrow.

April 13, 2022

A Retrospective

As our UUCP construction project approaches its conclusion, it is informative to remember back to the beginning of the process. It was just a bit over a year ago that the project got underway with the demolition of the Yellow House on March 30, 2021.

Demolition took a bit longer than expected, with some of the innards salvaged by Habitat and Wasenkari, and the painted exterior shingles removed by hand as hazardous waste.

The big yellow machine began moving dirt the next day, April 1, 2021. They filled the basement hole left by the Yellow House, and then extended the digging back toward the church, making a platform for the foundation of our new addition.

By the following week, April 9, 2021, the digging had revealed just how precarious was the foundation of our 115-year-old church building. If there had once been mortar between these rocks, the passage of a century had eroded it away.

Exactly a year ago, on April 13, 2021, the foundation was strengthened with several inches of shotcrete, blown into the cracks with high pressure. The same treatment was used in the kitchen, where gutting the space revealed forgotten window wells, and walls equally in need of support.

By April 14, 2021, demolition was underway in the old church. The hazardous vermiculite was being vacuumed out of the attic. The foyer and offices were almost gone from the rear of the sanctuary, to make room for the reconstruction of the balcony that had been removed 50 years ago. The offices in the basement would be next to go.

April 12, 2022

Glass Handrail, Cabinets, WiFi

The glass handrail along the front of the balcony and around both windows is almost complete. As each post is bolted in place, another heavy panel of tempered glass is fastened in place. Each post gets four 3/8 inch lag screws that penetrate 3 inches into the laminated beam. Roger noted that each post is rated to withstand more than 200 pounds of side pressure.

The glass rail will be almost invisible from a distance. The sanctuary has been the final resting place of stuff. Even Roger’s office area moved up here when it was time to finish the floor in the basement. All this stuff should be cleaned up by the end of this week. They plan to refinish the wood floor next week. Before they do the floor, we plan to use the scaffold to hang the two “stained glass” quilts on either side. The scaffold should be safer than a stepladder working 16 feet in the air.

The frames of the kitchen cabinets are in place, but the fronts must still be added. The pass-thru for coffee pots will look familiar. The door to the left, which used to open into a bathroom, will now be a sliding door second access to the kitchen.

The counters will mostly be laminate, and I think the island gets stainless steel. The two electric stoves and the commercial dishwasher should be delivered on Thursday.

He is installing cabinets in the secretary’s office. The three drawer units are spaced apart, and will support a laminate slab, giving two knee-spaces for desk use, one at the sliding glass window, and another further to the right.

The UUCP home now has a functional WiFi! David installed the hardware this morning. There is one router in the utility closet on the first floor, a satellite in the left-front closet in the sanctuary, and another satellite in the conference room on the third floor. That arrangement seems to give good coverage of the entire building. I understand that the satellites can link to each other wirelessly, although they are now wired together for redundancy.

April 8, 2022

Glass Railing, Cabinets, Screens

Roger has positioned the posts for the glass railings at the front of the balcony and around the windows at the back. Careful measurement is critical in this work. We got boxes of parts that must be assembled precisely. Roger had to cut the posts to length. He had to drill holes in precise locations for the brackets that will hold the glass. The posts must be bolted down precisely to match the various lengths of the glass sheets. Roger has been pondering how to do all this for weeks.

The first piece of glass is fitted in place. They started on the shortest wall – the wall around the window above the southeast exit door. There will be three posts here, and two glass sheets.

Cabinets are being installed in the kitchen.

There are a lot of cabinets to be fitted into place. Once the cabinets are in place, some will get a laminate countertop, and some will get stainless steel. The two stoves and the commercial dishwasher should be delivered next week.

As I watched, Sam and Ryan carried in two 60-inch video screens. These will go high on the walls to the right and left of the stage.

Reading the assembly instructions.

The video screens in place.

April 5, 2022

Carpet, Plumbing, Data

Carpet installation continues. They worked on the first floor hallway this morning, and probably progressed to the offices this afternoon.

The stairways are more time consuming. The risers (the vertical bits) are all done. The exacting part is the strip of vinyl that slips down between the wall and the end of the stair treads to prevent scuff marks on the wall. Cutting this precisely takes time and skill. Next will come the vinyl bullnose and the carpet treads

The potable water is not yet turned on in the project. The fire sprinklers were completed and pressure tested some time ago. (The red Christmas tree controls the sprinklers.) The two black tubes to the right are for potable water. One tube routes water from the city meter at the curb. This water will pass through a backflow valve to avoid any possibility that contamination from our system could flow back into the city’s system. Then the water will divide, some for the bathrooms in the addition, and some routed through the second black tube to the church basement bathroom and kitchen.

The bathrooms are mostly complete.

The water fountain on the second floor has two levels and a bottle filler.

The blue wires are for data. These run to many points in the buildings, and will support the audio-video system, a phone line, Wi-Fi, and safety connections for the elevator and fire alarm.

Building Project Archives

October-December 2021

July-September 2021

April-June 2021

January-March 2021