Capital Campaign Building Project
PO Box 9342
Moscow, Idaho 83843
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
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.
March 31, 2022
Floors and Doors
The carpet tiles are mostly in place on the second and third floor. Yesterday morning there was carpet on the lower and upper levels of the balcony. Today all three levels are complete.
Today the vertical parts of the stage got carpet. They will probably finish it tomorrow. Then they will turn to the first floor and stairway.
For several months the exterior doors have had plywood inserts instead of glass – a safety measure so nobody sticks a 2×4 or a piece of pipe through the glass. Now they are replacing the plywood with glass.
The exterior steel doors have steel frames that must be painted on-site.
The front double door and the west door are being painted blue to match the blue of the south doors of the church. The doors on the rear fire stairs will be painted white, like everything else on the back of the addition.
March 29, 2022
Flooring, Doors, Etc.
The flooring in the church basement was completed last week. There’s still some needed trim and cove molding, but this space is nearly finished.
Carpet tile installation was nearly complete on the third floor this morning. They began preparing the balcony for its carpet tiles this afternoon. The flooring for the entire project should be approaching completion by the end of this week.
Much of the remaining work is not dramatic, but it does take skill and time. Most of the doors have now been hung – a project that takes precision and patience. Many of these doors still need latches and windows.
The exterior doors and frames are steel and must be painted.
Then there’s details like fire extinguishers. A dozen of these, each mounted in small cabinets will be distributed around the building. Of course, the cabinet came separate in the box from its glass door panel and the glass had to be installed. (Some assembly required.)
March 22, 2022
Flooring, Plumbing, Data
Yesterday morning they prepared the basement floor with a light sanding to remove any roughness and help the adhesive stick.
They got a good start laying the flooring planks yesterday afternoon. They started from the middle of the room, establishing a straight view line as one enters from the addition.
This morning they reached the north wall, with some fiddly work around HVAC registers and door openings. The same plank flooring will continue into the bathroom floor and vestibule for continuity. Next, they will finish the half of the floor south of their midline. After that, they will probably put cove moldings in the bathrooms before they start on the carpet tiles.
The blue data cables all converge in this room. This will include WIFI, telephone, a link between the fire alarm system and the fire department, and a safety phone link to the elevator.
The plumbers have been back. The toilets have been installed in the bathrooms, but the sinks are waiting to reconcile a mismatch between sinks and faucets.
The new water heater now sits in the corner of the west utility room ready for plumbing and electrical connection. The drinking fountain sits in its box in the hallway.
I anticipate some railings soon. The trim at the front of the balcony is painted and ready to hold the glass railing. The railings for the stage and the handrails for the stairway are fabricated and powder coated. There’s lots of other finishing details that are happening. Doors are being hung, latches installed, bits of paint and trim are touched up. It’s hard to wait when we’re this close to finishing, but I remind myself that it all takes time – and especially time to do well.
March 14, 2022
HVAC, Sun Tunnels
One of the goals of the UUCP building project was to replace the old gas furnace in the church with more efficient heat pumps. The church’s new heating system will match the heat pumps being installed in the addition (which need a few tweaks before they are switched on). The new heating system in the church was on today for the first time. The heat exchangers and ductwork certainly do fill the old furnace room.
Because the big third floor conference room is tucked up into the roof trusses, it has no side windows, just the two windows at the west end. Three light tubes are being added to give some natural light to the room’s interior. The top domes were put in along with the roofing several months ago. The lower ends must now be fitted in as the ceiling tiles are installed. A series of adjustable tube sections will connect tops to bottoms.
March 9, 2022
Anniversary, Ceiling. Flooring, Doors
This must be about the one-year anniversary of our construction project, and we are nearing completion! A year ago, on March 3, 2021, we had the work party that lifted the pavers and moved them to the east side of the church. On March 17th they started demolition of the Yellow House. It has been an exciting year watching the construction, and it is going to be a wonderful space.
The ceiling tiles are almost all in place on the first floor, and the workers moved to the second floor this morning. Look at the new ceiling in the first-floor hallway, looking east toward the door into the church basement.
This is Rev Elizabeth’s new office, complete except for flooring and some finishing touches on the closet. The pile of boxes contains flooring carpet tiles.
The kitchen has a new red floor, and the cabinets and appliances are on their way.
The storage rooms and bathrooms are getting their sheet flooring this week. The nursery room is getting a sheet vinyl corner where they will put the kids size toilet and sink. (The corner will be bordered by a movable screen.)
There are lots of finish details yet to complete. There are still more door frames to be installed, doors to be hung and doors fitted with latches in the addition. Here doors are being reinstalled on the closets to each side of the stage. The door on the right side must lose 3 inches from the bottom to fit changes made for the new ADA ramp to the stage. The door on the left closet is now positioned 18 inches higher because the closet floor was raised to match the new stage height.
The bigger finish details include the glass railing on the balcony and the refinishing of the sanctuary floor. The small stuff includes two little doors – a hatch from the third-floor conference room that provides access to the south gable where the chalice window resides, and a similar hatch to the north which provides access to sprinkler lines that will rarely require attention.
March 4, 2022
Electrical, Trim, Fire, Kitchen, Paving
Our construction project is now about 90 percent done. Start with the electrical work which is now mostly complete. The big task was connecting all the light fixtures that were fitted into the ceiling grids and all the wiring now buried in the walls and ceiling. They are now doing the miscellaneous finish up work, like the light fixtures by the exterior doors. Along with its new light, the northeast exit from the sanctuary already has a new sidewalk and a new landing. It just needs the new steel door, and some wood steps with handrails.
Most of the inside painting is now complete, with off-white in the addition and shades of yellow in the sanctuary. A remaining difficult part will be the scar across the blue ceiling where the back wall was removed. It will take a tall scaffolding to reach the scar, probably the same scaffolding needed to build the handrail at the front of the balcony. They have a blue paint that matches the blue ceiling. They tested some on a spot near the door and I can’t find it because the match is so perfect.
With the painting mostly done, they are now working on finish trim. He is putting a trim cap on the stub walls of the audiovisual booth and framing the opening for the glass wall inside the old entry door.
The fire sprinkler system inspection yesterday was a major milestone. The system was already pressure tested to confirm that it could hold 200 psi with no leaks. The state fire marshal took a walk through, confirmed that the warning system worked, and passed us on the layout.
The box with the red wires is the fire alarm control center. The stray wires will soon connect our building to the fire department through our internet connection. The plywood to the left is where the internet stuff will go, and the box to the right will be the switch box for our solar panels.
He is about to add an exhaust fan to the ceiling. This space was once a bathroom but is being added to the kitchen to add a second entry door and some dishwashing space. It will be a sliding door.
The area in front of the church is taking final form. The sidewalks are in place. The stacked block wall around the native plants must still be replaced and extended across the front to the new landing steps. The crushed rock base is close to the correct contour for pavers. When can we move the pavers back to make our new patio? It depends on the weather and the painters. To paint the exterior of the addition they will use a lift machine which will drive on the area we want to pave. They can’t paint the exterior until they get some dry weather approaching 50 degrees. That may be a while.
February 24, 2022
Paint, Fire Sprinklers, HVAC Control
They are well along with painting the sanctuary. So far there are two colors – the off-white on the underside of the balcony, and the lighter yellow everywhere else. The area under the chair rail (to the lower left of this picture) will get the darker yellow that is used elsewhere as an accent. Note that the blue patch (where the rear wall was removed) is yet to be painted. They will work on that at the same time they get a lift machine to install the balcony railings.
Note the beautiful job they did with the patch where the tall window was removed (a bit to the left of the top of the stepladder). Their plaster job is much smoother than the patch somebody did when the stained glass window was removed 50 years ago (on the right).
Both the sanctuary and the basement have become places to store materials and equipment as the addition is nearing completion. Now as they are painting the lower walls a lot of the stuff is migrating to the stage. Much of this stuff will go to Habitat or Wasenkari.
The next step in the suspended ceiling installation is the final placement of the fire sprinklers. The fire plumbing went in months ago. The suspended ceiling framework was installed based on light fixture and ceiling panel criteria. Now the fire plumbing is being tweaked to relocate each sprinkler head to the center of a panel. It takes a few elbows and short pipes. Note the two sprinklers, one above and one below the ceiling panel. Apparently fires spreading above suspended ceilings are a thing. When the sprinklers are all relocated, they will proceed to install the rest of the ceiling panels.
The HVAC system for the addition is undergoing final checks. This involves checking for leaks in the tubing that runs from the heat pump units behind the addition to the wall units in each room. If there are no leaks the system should be functioning soon.
This is the remote-control unit for the HVAC unit in the minister’s office. It sits in a bracket beside the light dimmer/switch.
February 22, 2022
Suspended Ceiling, Handrails, Paint
The first-floor suspended ceiling is nearly done. The lighting is functional. There’s a few more connections to make, and then the rest of the ceiling panels can be put in place. The second-floor ceiling still needs the electrician to connect the lights and some other stuff. The ceiling guys have moved to the third-floor conference room. The laser level is a vital tool for this work. Fasten the device to the wall, and it projects an absolutely level green line around the entire room. The edge piece of the ceiling framework is nailed to the wall following the green line.
To suspend the interior framework bars they attach wires using this tool. The device has a slot at the top which holds an eye screw with 3 feet of dangling wire. At the bottom the rod is attached to a cordless drill. He puts the screw tip against a 2×4 high above his head, engages the drill, and twists in the screw with the dangling wire. The lower end of the wire is run through holes in the framework bar and twisted to hold.
There is an art to planning the layout of the ceiling. There should be a symmetry and lighting effectiveness to the layout of the light fixtures. There are other things that go in some squares – fire sprinklers, room occupancy sensors, and the solar tubes that will be fitted in this ceiling. They try to avoid odd narrow leftover strips along a wall. They spend more time planning the layout than they do installing the ceiling.
The painting is done in the addition, and the painters have moved on to the sanctuary. There they have the challenge of several colors for the balcony and for the construction patches here and there. The area under the balcony has received a primer coat and a texture coat to match the heavy texture of the existing sanctuary paint. The next step is above the balcony where he is masking the wall before painting and texturing. The Aesthetics Committee has selected the final colors that will go in the various places – mostly continuing the existing color pattern.
We got a preview of the railing for the sanctuary stage. They brought out a 15-foot-long section to verify that it would fit before they fabricate the rest. The slanted bar is the handrail for the ADA ramp. The 3 horizontal bars are to keep the choir from falling into the ramp. The tricky part is how the 4 bars must turn the corner and continue 8 feet along the right side of the stage. There will also be 4 separate smaller handrails at each side of the steps. These guys also spent some time measuring for the handrails to go in the in the addition stairways.
February 18, 2022
Here is Roger’s picture of our last delivery of concrete. This was his view from the new balcony.
The concrete went into the steps at the south exit from the basement. I find this method of forming steps interesting. They use a bit stiffer mix of concrete, so the fluid mixture doesn’t just sluice out under the board at the back of each step. These steps will be tightly covered with a blanket tonight. It will be chilly.
February 17, 2022
A Door, A Sidewalk
The first interior door in the addition was installed today in the secretary’s office. I expect that Phil will have more fitted in place by this afternoon and tomorrow. The frames are metal, and powder coated. The door slabs are natural wood. There’s a clip-on trim strip that will cover the mounting screws.
We also got the final sidewalk pour this morning. They wanted to do it now because it is supposed to get colder next week.
There is just one remaining pour of concrete to be done – the landing and stairs outside the south exit from the basement. The new concrete steps will descend to the paved patio. Remember that we decided not to lower and replace this door because we didn’t want to disturb what we expected was a tenuous church foundation. The native plant beds will be extended to each side of the landing to further protect the foundation.
February 16, 2022
Lights, Plaster & HVAC
All the lights are now functional on the first floor! These are the first new light fixtures installed in our building – in the hall and all the offices. These replace the temporary lights and extension cords that have illuminated construction. I am discovering the complexities of modern lighting. Not only are they all LED fixtures, but they also have occupancy sensors that turn out lights when no one is in the room. The picture shows the window to the secretary’s office, which will soon get sliding glass doors. Note the HVAC unit high on the far wall – they’re all in place on the first floor. They are mounting suspended ceiling on the second floor today, and lights should follow by the middle of next week. Next comes the third floor.
The electricians are mounting LED light fixtures on the balcony ceiling. The shades (see one upside down on the floor) should be acceptably compatible with the old pendant light fixtures.
I admire this guy’s skills, both smoothing drywall joints, and walking on stilts. Extending the ceiling soffits into the new Fellowship Hall space has taken more time than I expected. Enclosing all the beams, heating ducts, and conduits made for lots of joints and corners. Actually, the crew is getting close to finishing the drywall work. The third floor is ready for paint. This week should about finish the drywall in the old church – the balcony, the wall patching in the sanctuary, the kitchen, and the basement. We’ll see some more painting next week.
HVAC work in the furnace room seems to be stop and go. They fit in some duct pieces, which then gives them the measurements needed to go back to the shop to fabricate more pieces. Also, they are balancing several job sites. I figure they need 2 more big duct pieces to make what looks like the last connection. Besides, that’s about all the space they have left in the old furnace room. I really look forward to having the HVAC systems functional in both the church and the addition. The temporary electric resistance heaters they are using to heat and dry out the drywall and paint have been running up some rather scarry Avista bills. Besides, I am tired of stepping over heavy-duty power cords.
February 11, 2022
Glass, Suspended Ceiling and HVAC
We got two critical deliveries on Thursday. (These days of supply chain problems seems to find us holding our breaths.) The first delivery was a package of materials for the balcony railing – a very heavy package. The railing will be glass panels, supported every 48 inches by powder coated posts. The crate they are lowering on the delivery truck’s rear lift weighs about a ton. It contains about 15 sheets of 3/8 inch tempered glass about 42” by 48”, weighing about 150 pounds each. The box on top contains the posts, also a very heavy package. They are now on the sanctuary floor, ready to be assembled.
The second critical delivery was the materials for the suspended ceiling grid. They started installing grids in the first floor hallway on Friday morning. The office ceilings will come next on Monday.
They also started installing the individual room HVAC units. They fit high on the walls of the rooms, and connect to power, and to the pair of insulated copper tubes that link them to the heat pump compressors north of the addition. (In the upper right of this image, note the laser level that is being used to position the suspended ceiling.)
On the quiet far end of the second floor, this man was installing sills on the windows. I suppose it helps a bit that almost all the windows are the same width.
It was another beautiful day today, so some sidewalks got poured. This is the one that connects the parking lot to the city sidewalk.
Drywall taping and smoothing continues, both in the sanctuary and in the basement.
February 7, 2022
Drywall and Painting
Mary Jo and I are back from two weeks in Costa Rica. Great trip, beautiful country, astounding wildlife. They have made great progress on the UUCP building while we have been gone. The first and second floors have received both a primer coat and a light texture coat. The first-floor offices and hallway have also received a final finish coat.
It was fun to watch this morning as they applied the finish coat on the second floor. The two painters work together. The man in white applies paint with a spray gun. The man in the orange T shirt evens it out with a wide roller with a long handle. They can use the spray gun since there is no carpet or ceiling to protect. They work fast and the result is perfect.
On the third floor they are still taping and smoothing the sheetrock joints. By the end of this week it should be ready for the primer and texture coats. The entire new addition will get a final coat of this off-white paint. (It’s a lot easier and faster for the contractor to use a single color in their machinery.) If we decide on other colors for selected walls in offices or classrooms, that can be done as we occupy the building.
After paint, the next steps in the addition will be room doors and the suspended ceiling. They plan to begin installing the ceiling framework by the end of this week. When the suspended ceiling framework is in place, the electricians will add light fixtures and some other stuff to the grid. Adding the ceiling panels will be a final step.
Lots of work has also been done in the church. The balcony got a coat of sheetrock on its bottom, the support posts have been wrapped with sheetrock, and a multitude of construction holes in the walls have been patched. All this needs mudding, taping, and smoothing before they get to the painting stage.
The biggest construction patch is where the southwest arched window was removed as the addition butted against it. This window has been reused in the stairwell of the addition. To the left of the window are the marks where the stairway to the upper office was attached. It will be interesting to see how smooth they can make these patches. This may be a good place to hang one of the quilts.
The biggest drywall project in the church basement are the ceiling soffits. These soffits cover a multitude of things – the main beams that support the floor above, hot and cold air ducts, electrical wires, and ceiling lights. The goal is to make the new soffits where we removed the two offices match the old soffits in the rest of the basement. Sheetrock has been applied, but there is still a lot of mud and tape work to do.
The kitchen has its sheetrock, but the joints still need to be mudded and taped.
In the southwest corner the old stairwell has some patches and a new door frame. This will be a project for volunteer labor after we occupy the building. This closet needs a proper floor inside to accommodate carts for chair storage.
The fire escape stairway is in place on the north side of the addition. Note also that there now are rain gutters
While we were away for two weeks, some of the snow melted – including all the snow in front of our buildings. The sight of the bare ground has Roger talking about pouring the delayed sidewalks. It would be better for concrete work if it stayed a bit warmer at night.
February 1, 2022
We Have a Target Date!
by Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stevens, Minister
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. -Maya Angelou
The contractors have indicated that our building might be ready for occupancy as early as mid-April! Hallelujah! The re-opening committee is meeting this month, and will start to establish criteria for resuming in-person gatherings. I expect we’ll come up with clear guidelines, based on observable metrics. We should prepare ourselves to be flexible, though, because as new variants arise, we may be in for last minute changes of plan. Other UU churches that have resumed in-person services have often had to pivot multiple times as case rates rise, or key people test positive.
The calculus for institutional risk is different than our personal decision making process, however, so when we resume in person worship, we’ll be fully hybrid. What does that mean? It means that people who want to worship on Zoom will be able to do so, and the goal is to make sure that their experience is just as high quality as we’ve become accustomed to, as well as to do all we can so that all attendees, whether 3-D or virtual, feel equally a part of our church community.
To that end, we will have screens in the expanded sanctuary. I know this was somewhat controversial the last time we brought it up, and I’m sensitive to people’s concerns and hesitations. However, we can’t create inclusive worship services in the age of COVID without them. I remember saying several years ago that this wasn’t a hill I was prepared to die on. At this point, I’m afraid it is. I’m happy to hear more from you if you have reservations. The presence of screens really isn’t negotiable, but the more I understand about your concerns, the more likely it will be that I can address them in the way we choose to use this new technology.
I simply cannot wait to move back into our beautiful church home! I have done my best, these last two years, to follow Maya Angelou’s advice to be at home where my feet are. Yet I’ve so missed our beautiful sanctuary! There’s a feeling I get there, that comes, I believe, from the energy created when a place is filled with love for many generations. The place breathes, and lives, and holds us in a way my home office just… doesn’t.
More than the place, though, I look forward to the feeling of being gathered in person, at least those of us who so choose. I know it will be different, and I actually relish the challenge of figuring out how to do hybrid services well. Deep gratitude to the contractors… to Joel Hamilton…to Al Poplawsky and the rest of the building committee. Our church home is going to be better than ever, and it will allow us to shine our values into the world in new and ever-brighter ways.
January 19, 2022
Fire Escape, Sheetrock in the Church
Back in November they had planned to paint the outside of the addition before the fire escape stairway was installed on the north side. It hasn’t been good weather for painting for some time, so they decided to go ahead with the stairs. The stairs will be a bit out from the wall, so they can paint around them later when the weather is suitable – perhaps about the time when they pour the snow-delayed sidewalks.
This is the biggest crane I’ve ever been close enough to touch. The machine must be 50 feet long and 20 feet wide with the outriggers. Our addition is 45 feet tall, so the boom must reach up 90 feet – maybe more.
The stairs will sit on top of 2 groups of 4 posts and be bolted to the building in several more places. The sections of metal stairway have been powder coated and are now sitting in a pile by the crane. I expect they will be in place by this evening.
Progress continues inside. Sheetrock hanging is nearly complete in the addition, except for a bit of 3rd floor stairway ceiling. Work with tape and mud takes skill and time but is proceeding well. That’s mud, not paint, that he is applying with a roller on an uneven area. Next will come a pre-paint coat and some light texturing. The Aesthetics Committee has picked out the off-white paint that will be the initial color of every interior wall in the addition. There will be time post-contract to get more colorful. Alternatively, we could call it the White House to distinguish it from the Yellow House!
Sheetrock work has moved to the old church. Expanding the sanctuary, adding space to Fellowship Hall, rebuilding the basement kitchen, and replacing the historic balcony have left scars all over the building. There’s a lot of patching to do with sheetrock, tape, mud, and matching paint, which is now getting started. In the following picture he’s patching by the new AV booth. This rat’s nest of wires is now obsolete, replaced by wireless technology or new cables, and will be sheetrocked over. If someone wants one of these wires in the future, this picture will be a reference where to dig.
Mary Jo and I will be taking a two-week break. When we return, I expect my next blog to show a tremendous amount of progress.
January 12, 2022
Elevator. HVAC, Ceiling
Have you ever wondered what is behind the button when you push one of them inside the elevator to select your floor, or to hold the elevator for someone rushing to board? There’s a lot of stuff – looks like enough to build a whole computer. They are putting final touches on the elevator today. Perhaps it will be fully functional by tonight.
Remember the supply chain delayed bracket for the heat exchangers? They came yesterday and they are installing them today. Each heat exchangers will sit on four six-inch legs – you can see one of them near his left elbow. The legs raise the units so any condensation will drain into the sewer system by gravity.
With the cover off you can see the innards of a heat exchanger. The diagonal thing is where the exchange happens. The compressor behind the church will deliver hot or cold fluid to the mesh of copper pipes. The return air duct (yet to be installed) will deliver air to the bottom of the exchanger. A fan at the top will pull in the return air up through the copper exchanger and push the heated/cooled air up and out to the sanctuary or Fellowship Hall.
They finished the sheetrock firewall ceiling in the balcony foyer. The firewall is intended to separate the two barely attached buildings in case of fire. The ceiling is a double layer of 5/8 inch sheetrock – at about 100 pounds per sheet. The firewall ceiling is sloped, following the drainage slope of the “flat” roof above. It will also be a double ceiling. There will be a regular suspended ceiling, somewhat below the sheetrock ceiling that we will see. It will still be a very tall room.
They will continue the firewall sheetrock ceiling into the stairwell, an area about as big as the foyer. The challenge of the job will be the scaffolding they will need in the stairwell so they can handle 100 pound 4×10 sheets sometimes 20 feet in the air. When I visited this morning they were mostly out of sheetrock, but another 50 sheets probably came this afternoon.
January 10, 2022
With no deliveries for a few days, there has been no reason to plow the foot of snow from the parking lot. Now there needs to be another delivery of sheetrock, especially for the kitchen, the church basement ceiling, and wall patching here and there. Tom Golis decided to try out the almost new plow on his pickup. It took a few running starts, but Tom got the lot clear.
They started taping drywall last week. Two men worked on Saturday, and today there are four. I find it fascinating to watch the confidence with which they cut the 4 by 10 sheets with just a box knife, a tape measure and a T square. It takes a cut on the front holding the knife at the end of the tape measure slid across the sheet, then a bump with the heel of the hand to break it, a cut on the back to sever the sheet, and a final cut to length with a T square. The strip he’s cutting will go high on the wall of the nursery room wall.
Properly mudding and taping drywall joints and screws is a real skill. I have tried it enough to prove that I do a terrible job. My excuse is that I don’t have all the specialized gadgets – like this device for smoothing interior corners. He’s working on the corner of one of the classrooms.
I also don’t have this tool for smoothing exterior corners. He’s finishing the pre-shaped corner tape on the soffit that will hold the track for the folding doors which will divide the double classroom. He uses a similar device (without the little black wheels) to finish all four corners around each window opening.
Mudding and taping is a precise process that can’t really be hurried. It must dry between multiple layers. It will certainly extend beyond next week as they move to the church kitchen, ceiling soffits, and general patching. This will be followed with primer paint, and then a light texturing before the final paint. There should be progress with the HVAC systems later this week, and maybe the final steps to finish the elevator. Flooring and the suspended ceiling are on the horizon.
January 5, 2022
Supply Chains and Sheetrock
There is a post-holiday feeling around the construction site. The sidewalks that were ready to pour are now on hold since it is too cold – and they are now under 16 inches of snow. The exterior painting and the installation of the rear stairway are also waiting. Any bets on when the snow will go away?
The electricians are mostly done until the drywall is complete and painted so they can get to work on outlets and switches in the walls, and light fixtures in the suspended ceilings. The HVAC people are also waiting for the finished walls in the addition so they can install the wall mounted units in the offices and classrooms. In the church, the HVAC workers have encountered yet another supply chain issue – the lack of mounting brackets for the heat exchangers they will mount in the old furnace room. These units will exchange the heat or cold from the compressors behind the church to the air that will be circulated around the sanctuary and basement. This exchange often results in condensation, so the units must be elevated a few inches using the now missing brackets, so the condensate can run by gravity to the sewer line. I suggested they could probably fabricate the missing brackets, but that got vetoed since the brackets are specifically engineered to limit vibration and noise.
The few workers around this morning were hanging sheetrock in the elevator shaft. The back and sides of the elevator shaft received a double layer of 5/8 inch sheetrock before the elevator was installed inside – part of the required elevator firewall. The side of the shaft toward the hallway was left open for access. Today they are working inside, using the now functional elevator as they install the double layer on the remaining inside wall. They are also hanging sheetrock on the hallway side around the elevator door frame. Of course the elevators will not be fully usable until the hall drywall is finished and painted because they need to wire in the control buttons by the door.
Taping and mudding the joints should begin very soon since the offices, classrooms, bathrooms and hallways now have their sheetrock. However, there are two remaining areas needing sheetrock. Start with the patches needed in the church. Removing the rear wall and offices and adding the balcony to the sanctuary has left many places where the original lath and plaster will have to be patched with sheetrock. The same is true of the basement where the removal of the offices has left gaps to be patched and ceiling soffits to be extended with sheetrock.
There is one remaining big drywall task in the addition – the ceiling of the third floor foyer. This ceiling is planned to be part of the firewall envelope of the addition. This means that the entire underside of the foyer ceiling will get a double layer of 5/8 inch sheetrock. I think they are waiting for their workers who specialize in this daunting task – screwing in place 100 pound sheets of 5/8 inch sheetrock overhead. Once the firewall is complete, a different subcontractor will install the suspended ceiling.
It is going to be a beautiful room with its gothic window facing the 1912 Center and its 10 foot ceiling. Visualize the final ceiling height at about the level of the bottom of the tunnel to the flat roof above. In the plan this room was labeled “Study Hall”. I can visualize a grouping of comfortable seats, perhaps with a low table next to the window.
Building Project Archives