Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hodge Hall: Week 67 -- View from my desk

Hodge Hall is looking positively green this week. 

The cement has been poured for the new hallway that cuts
through the mechanical room on the first floor.
Workers are finishing up the very last items on the Hodge Hall construction punch list for this summer's interior renovations in advance of the start of the fall semester.

Gender signs are going up outside of the new bathrooms. Electrical cords are being gathered and stowed. Dollies, carts and scaffolds are being rolled to new places. Boxes and the general detritus of construction are being broken down or swept up and tossed away.

The new hallway that required cutting through a wall and rerouting of pipes and cables in the mechanical room on the first floor is taking shape. The floor has been poured, and part of the wall has been sealed. The construction crew will build new walls before the access to the lower level of the theater-style classrooms in the existing building can be used.

On the outside, the Fee Lane side of Hodge Hall was treated this week with the green membrane air barrier that will help prevent moisture buildup between the concrete block and the limestone veneer that will soon be going up.

But it's the inside that students and visitors will appreciate most. The interior of the sections of the existing undergraduate building that are adjacent to the expansion will certainly look different to those returning to Kelley after months away. Gone are the old Spanish-style orange tiles that caused anything on wheels to make an incredible racket. The walls have a fresh coat of paint. Students and recruiters can once again get to the Undergraduate Career Services Office without walking outside to bypass the construction.

We're ready.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hodge Hall: Week 66 -- View from my desk

Lots of lifts on the construction site today.

The crew has been hanging out in the basket lifts around the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center this week. They've adorned more of the top-floor windows with decorative tile and wrapped other window frames with black weather-proofing material.

The scaffold around the tower at the main entrance at 10th and Fee is steadily making it's way up. Two big sections of limestone on the front elevation are nearly complete, and we thought the limestone work on this side of the building would be several weeks off. It's a nice surprise to get to watch this part of the show sooner than expected.

While there is still quite a bit of work to be done on the front elevation, masons have begun
the limestone facade on the Fee Lane side of the tower.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hodge Hall: Week 65 -- Getting ready for the students' return

A sign of progress.
All around the IU campus, workers are busy finishing up summer projects before the students return. The Kelley School is no exception. While the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center expansion won't be ready for classes until the Fall 2014 semester, some renovations to the existing building were completed during the summer. Here's a peek at what students will see upon their return.

The first floor lobby, which used to open onto 10th Street at the far end, has a new floor,
new paint, and the ceiling is being replaced.

The south corridor of the first floor, heading toward the Undergraduate Career Services Offices.
New bathrooms are on the right. 

Hydration stations have been installed on each floor
 of the renovated south corridor.

These shiny, modern bathrooms are a huge improvement on the Ugrad side.

New stairwell on the southeast side near SPEA.
A window to the future: Plexiglass was installed in the construction wall on the 1st floor to allow students to watch the progress of the Hodge Hall expansion. The area behind the glass is the top tier of the Commons area.

Still a lot of work to do here, but you can really start to envision this new grand entrance.
We can't wait to see it filled with students.

Do you remember this photo from a past post? It's a mechanical room that was
destined to become a hallway. It now looks like this...
The pipes were rerouted or moved entirely, and a concrete saw cut a hole though the wall to make
a walkway to the lower entrances of the auditorium-style classrooms.
The crew is still removing the blocks of concrete that they had to saw through. 

Week 65, the view from my desk.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Hodge Hall: Week 64 -- Limestone edition

Masons have been installing the limestone veneer on the east and south sides of Hodge Hall.

A few of months ago, I was in the elevator with one of the crew members working on the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center. I asked him what his job was, and he told me he is a mason, and he was working on the CMU -- that's the "concrete masonry unit" or concrete block to us lay people. I asked him how that was going, and he said fine, but he was really ready to get started on the limestone: "That's the fun part."

A well-designed puzzle.
Even though we can't see much of it from my window, "the fun part" has been happening for several weeks now. It might look like the masons are putting together a rather large puzzle, but there's a particular pattern they follow -- every stone has it's own spot in the design.

The stone -- Indiana limestone, of course -- arrives already cut to fit. There are several different shapes and textures and shades of color. Thousands of pieces of stone. Limestone weighs between 160 and 175 pounds per cubic foot. I'm waiting on some figures to do the math on that, but let's just say that is one heavy job.

The pattern appears random, but of course, it's not. Special pieces surrounding the windows and doors have to be factored in, and everything has to fit together with 3/8" mortar joints. That's pretty precise. Things like rain drip and wind pressure on windows also have to be considered to make the veneer structurally sound.

Visitors to IU often say it's one of the most beautiful campuses they've ever seen. Friends of mine said during their initial visit here that everything was so perfect they half expected to find that it wasn't real -- that at any moment they'd happen upon a film crew making a movie on this idyllic set. Part of what makes it so charming and collegiate are the limestone buildings, and it's easy to see that Hodge Hall will be a jewel among them.

The view from my desk: Most of the limestone work is happening on the front elevation,
but the masons have started on the trim at the bottom of the tower.