Friday, August 31, 2012

Hodge Hall: Week 16 -- The view from my desk

A lot of activity this week around the corner. 

They're called "rod busters."

The workers who tie rebar together to make grids that are used to reinforce concrete are skilled and practiced in the art.

Tagged rebar.
It's a lot more detailed than it looks. Each steel rebar, short for reinforcing bar, is cut to fit a specific spot on a blueprint for the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center expansion. Some have been shaped with a curve at the mill, which has tagged each bundle of rebar with its size and where it goes in the grand scheme of things.

The rod busters have built a few more grids and cages this week, fastening the rebar together with wire, while the cement truck has been busy churning out the gray glue that holds everything together. They've completed several footings, the last of which just makes it into the view from my window.

As they finish the footings, they bring in "backfill" of crushed stone to fill in the rest of the space. (They took all of that rock out, and now they're bringing more in....) The stone reaches almost to the top of the footings. It will be tamped down to make a hard, firm base for the concrete floor.

But there are a lot more rods to bust before then.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hodge Hall: Week 15 -- The view from my desk

Workers tie rebar into grids to be used for the footings that will anchor steel beams for Hodge Hall.

Workers for Gibraltar Construction are making their way around the outside of the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center, beginning on the 10th Street side, making rebar grids and pouring cement into them to create reinforced concrete footings.

The footings will anchor steel beams that will create the framework for the Hodge Hall expansion. I've seen the cement truck go back and forth many times, but haven't gotten to see its handiwork yet. Hoping they'll round the corner next week so we can see a little more action.

This part of the job should move pretty fast. The concrete work is expected to be finished by Sept. 21.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hodge Hall: Week 14 -- The view from my desk

Holes where footings will go for the Hodge Hall expansion are filled with rain from the much-needed storm we had Thursday night. A worker sets up surveying equipment on the 10th Street side of the site.

The second phase of the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center expansion was delayed a little this week because of some paperwork, but the crew from Gibraltar Construction was on site today looking at the lay of the land.

Gibraltar will be pouring the cement for the concrete footings that will hold the steel beams. The concrete work is expected to take place through Sept. 21. We'll start seeing steel arrive in mid-September.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hodge Hall: Week 13 -- The view from my desk

Ready to build.
The jackhammer has stopped hammering and the shovel has stopped shoveling. Phase I of the construction of Hodge Hall is now complete.

All of the crew and heavy equipment that have been hard at work all summer preparing the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center site wrapped up their work a little ahead of schedule this week, leaving us with a calm before the storm of students return for orientation next week.

The lack of construction noise has been eerie almost, we've grown so accustomed to it. Now when we look out on the empty site, it seems to hold such promise -- you can almost imagine the steel beams reaching skyward, forming the skeleton of the addition. 

The second phase, which will begin next week, will include pouring the cement for the footings and mapping out the foundation of the building. I think we'll be seeing a lot of rebar soon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hodge Hall: Week 12 -- The view from my desk

Buck Reed breaks up more rock to make sure there's enough room to pour the steps to the Hodge Hall addition.

Well, we thought it was over. All of the holes had been made for the Hodge Hall expansion footings, and we were hoping that would be the last we'd hear of the jackhammer for a while.

But there's Buck Reed, breaking up some rock near the bridge that joins the undergrad building to the Godfrey Center across Fee Lane. We're thinking about changing our name from the School of Business to the School of Rock.

They wanted to be sure there is enough room to pour the steps that will lead up to Hodge Hall's Fee Lane entrance, so they've been busting through quite a bit of rock today.

Nathan Morrison, Kelley's construction overseer, tells me the work inside the building is going well. They've finished removing the windows and replacing them with concrete blocks on the first, third and fourth floors on both sides of the building.

The second floor will be a little more tricky. The limestone frames around the skinny windows actually protrude from the building, so they will have to be removed to create a smoother connecting wall.

The problem is, they also protrude into the classrooms on the inside. They may be working on those windows through November. A lot of the work will be done after hours so that classes won't be disturbed.

I'll be interested to hear what the students think of the progress as they return!