1 December 1997


One of the advantages of having access to the construction site on a regular basis is the opportunity to witness and appreciate the skilled work being done by various of the trades. Many of such items as the conduit, duct work, steel detail and piping get buried inside finished walls, and necessarily so. But to an extent, it's unfortunate that some of this work will forever be hidden. In several places, the work is quite impressive, truly artistic in many respects. There is some extremely careful and skilled work being done on this building and I'm sorry more people aren't able to witness it.

Ingenuity is also a valued commodity on a project like this. Recently, Broeker (the steel erectors) needed to maneuver a fairly large Genie lift into Roberts to allow them to work on the catwalks. The problem was one of size of the piece of equipment and available openings. The only access point was the north opening into the hallway between Roberts and the new scene shop; the opening allowed barely an inch on either side of the lift! Watching them maneuver that machine into the hall and turn it around -- in a very tight space, I might add -- was something to behold. It took a while, but ended successfully, with no damage to walls or corners or anyone's fingers or toes!!


Progress with duct work, drains pipes, and interior walls is running from bottom to top. The basement and first floor are almost completely roughed in, except for stud walls. Some delay in wall installation will occur until the floor topping and finish can proceed. Mostly this is a matter of temperature control; it has to be kept warm enough for the topping material to adhere. Most of the activity now is on the second floor.

Concrete has been poured on the steps and landings of the west stair tower and should be in place in the east tower in the next couple of days.

The roof installation is complete. As anyone driving by the site can notice, the window openings are covered and the masonry scaffolding completely wrapped. Large heating blowers are being set in place so the interior work can proceed in at least a bit more comfort as the temperatures continue to fall. Face brick assembly should begin any time now.


Most of the effort in this area currently involves overhead work. The plywood facing on the curved portions of the light monitors is complete. Some steel detailing continues on the roof and most of the roof parapet structures are finished. The installation of the actual final roof membrane should begin this week. Once the roof is on, the rest of the structure will be protected from the weather and interior work can begin in earnest.

The stud walls in the basement areas are completely roughed in. Sheet rock installation will commence as soon as the roof is finished; we don't want any moisture leakage onto the new wallboard.

The loading dock is nearing completion. The drive is now finished and usable; you may have noticed the brick work on the retaining wall. Load levelers for both this dock and the Roberts dock were to arrive today.


Much of the focus of this area continues in the Recital hall. As of this morning, the risers in the auditorium are ca. 75% poured and finished. The stage and flat area directly in front of the stage are finished. The entire floor area should be poured by the end of the week.

This is not to say, however, that no work is being done elsewhere. Wall framing has been completed in both Rehearsal and Early Music. The process will move on to Ethno this week. All brick work is now complete, except for a small bit on the east wall of Ethno, awaiting some steel before being finished.

Details in the lobby are moving ahead, with the framing for the circular overhead window almost complete.

The grade beams for the final sections of the arcade along the gallery and Ethno wing should be in place by week's end. We should be seeing the remaining steel columns in place shortly thereafter.


We're moving into the final stages in this area. Sprinkler piping is nearly finished, with some work in the scene shop still in process. The painters have begun in the Studio Theatre, already shooting the upper reaches, beams and duct work. Once the sprinklers are installed, they'll be able to move to the second, gallery level. We should be seeing the lower side wall panels arriving any time now.

The basement areas are also mostly complete, awaiting the beginning of painting. Work continues on the elevator, and that should be operational in another week or so.

Sheet rock on the Dance studio walls is almost complete; we're waiting for some details from the architect for the east wall windows before proceeding with that structure.

The concrete walks along the arcade are being poured today. A good deal of detailing has also been accomplished along the upper parapet wall of the lobby.

Coordination for the move-in has already begun. Some work will take place beginning the week of 15 December, with the remainder of materials moved in after 2 January. The focus right now is on getting the Scene shop totally ready as that space, and its equipment, are needed to manufacture shelves, storage units, racks, etc. for many of the other spaces.


Base painting has begun in the basement. Some wiring has already been pulled and that process is continuing. Final ceiling installation is also underway, which will be followed by setting light fixtures. This area should be the first completely ready to be occupied.

The Steel folks are hard at it on the catwalks in the auditorium. These structures get a complete make-over and are a critical element of the renovation. Coordination has already taken place for the electricians, sprinkler folks, and painters to operate in there as soon as Broeker is finished. Roberts needs to be totally operational by the end of February!

The retaining wall for the west drive is done. Preparation for pouring the drive is underway; the actual pour will probably be in a few days. As noted earlier, the load leveler should be delivered today. Our plan is to have this drive open and operational by the 15th.

Paul Nelson Jonathan ChenetteGrinnell College Music DepartmentGrinnell College Library PageGrinnell College Main Page

created by Paul Nelson, Wednesday, December 3, 1997
last modified, Monday, June 22, 1998 3:52 PM