Month: March 2008

Trading up….

Yes, we continue to pour concrete and will for some time. Now that the lens is not covered with ice, check out the webcam to see the walls of the second level being formed. The space between the Campus Center and Sage is being back filled and the floors of the second level are being poured. Snow did impact the project, slowing work down by forcing us to truck snow away from the site. No longer is it permissible to dump snow into the Fox River and the added task of removing it fell upon the crews at the site. Three weeks time was lost to the harsh winter weather.

The land bridge is in place with only railings and landscaping left to finish. As predicted in the last blog, we are going to have the land bridge open when students return this fall, the academic year 2008-2009. The land bridge promises to be a success, both physical and aesthetic, bridging the central and eastern parts of the campus. Landscaping plans have been submitted and approved by the LU grounds crew!

The river walk will extend from our property on the east, under Lawe Street to the sustainable garden, a.k.a SLUG (Sustainable Lawrence University Garden). An initial workshop has been held with our landscape architect, two members of Uihlein-Wilson architectural firm and four members of our faculty who teach or have taught environmental studies. Using the 2006 student river walk project as the basis for discussion and design, all workshop members were in accord philosophically. Like the land bridge, the river walk adds a new dimension to our engagement with and view of the river.

As the project continues, so does my education. There are many crews at work on the building which represent the varied “trades”. They are confined to their specialties but are often supported by Boldt Construction Laborers when timing requires or the task is massive.

The Iron Workers, to date, have spent a tremendous amount of their time tying rebar. The rebar (re-enforcing bars) are the iron rods in the walls and slabs which must be tied together before concrete can be poured. Having just finished a pour of 684 cubic yards of concrete for level two, the iron workers prepared two walls on the east and north for the “pour.” After a floor pour the Cement Finishers come in to level and finish the concrete. As mentioned, the Construction Laborers assist many trades, but so far have been responsible for placing much of the 10,000 cubic yards of concrete poured to date. The 10,000 cubic yards of concrete poured is enough to build to a sidewalk from Appleton to Green Bay.

Another very visible trade on the site is the Carpenters. There are two groups within this trade. The carpenters who build the forms for the concrete and layout the project components are very much in evidence these days. Once the building is enclosed they will install the drywall and place the metal studs. The “Finishing Carpenters” construct ceilings, hang doors and install hardware and finished wood products throughout the building.

Equipment Operators include the man operating the enormous crane, the men responsible for the concrete pump and “elephant trunk”, the operators of forklifts and all of the excavation equipment. Throughout the project these men are guaranteed 2 hours of work, 5 days a week, rain or snow.

Obviously, the power needed to operate the Campus Center requires Electricians. Their trade installs all of the power in the building, placing all conduit, including that for phone and data lines.

The Plumbers are responsible for laying all of the PVC for drains, sewers and water piping and then install all of the toilets, sinks showers, water heaters and grease traps. The kitchen behind the servery, a very detailed job for plumbers, must be carefully coordinated with the work of electricians. Separate from the plumbers are the Steamfitters who install the HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air-conditioning) piping systems, equipment and chillers. They usually work with cast iron, steel, copper and stainless steel piping. The Sheet Metal workers follow the steamfitters and build/install the ductwork necessary for the air supply system and the air handling units.

The Glazers and Masons begin their work once the Campus Center structure is in place. The glazers install the entire glass system including the curtain walls and the masons lay the exterior Fond du Lac stone and any concrete block required.

Once the building is enclosed, the finish trades will work on the inside of the building, but I will save that for another blog. The building is really taking shape as it rises out of the ground. Progress continues as we pour more and more and more concrete! Stay tuned!!