Super Saturday Suter Science Center Crane Work

& Suter Science Renovation.

Construction workers began an unusual Saturday workday at 6:30AM on March 21, under partly cloudy skies at EMU’s Suter Science Center where the third phase of renovation is underway.  Their task was to remove two 47 year old heating and air conditioning units from the north side of the lower level roof and replace them with a new larger unit.  Planning began weeks ahead of the event which was delayed until the weather became suitable.

The winter’s significant precipitation turned the site area on the north side of Suter into a soft muddy mess and it was clear that a long period of relatively dry weather would be needed before contractors could consider placing a crane for removing the old units and lifting the new 11,200 pound unit in place.  An alternate location on the south parking lot could work also, but the crane’s reach would need to be significantly longer.  This meant that a much larger crane from farther away would need to be substituted for the ordinary crane’s available locally.

In addition to the crane operators from Digging and Rigging, the day’s contractors included general contractor Harman Construction, mechanical contractor Blauch Brothers and roofing contractor Don Largent Roofing.

The well-planned operation was executed perfectly and the work was completed by 11:00am.

Crane operations staging area, overhead view of Digging and Rigging crane, job superintendent Phil Reece on the phone, crews preparing the roof base for the new 11,200 pound HVAC unit.

Clockwise from top left: Staging area for crane work; large crane from Digging and Rigging; Harman job superintendent, Phil Reece, a very capable “conductor” for the operation; crew preparing the curb base for the new 11,200 pound Annex Air unit.

Removing old HVAC unit; roof opening after removal of old HVAC unit; base for new Annex Air unit installed; cutting opening in roof decking for ductwork to new HVAC unit.

Clockwise for top left: Moments before removing one of the old HVAC units; roof opening after HVAC unit removal; new roof curb base installed prior to arrival of new 11,200 pound Annex Air unit; cutting hole in roof decking for ductwork to new HVAC unit.

New unit "flying in"; within inches of its final destination; in its final place.

Clockwise from top left: New 11,200 pound Annex Air unit “flying in”; lowering new unit into place; all done!

View the four hour operation in four minutes:

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 03/16-03/20

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion – July 15, 2015

Painting: All classrooms are now painted with their final wall colors.

Ceiling Grid: Preparations for hanging the ceiling grid should be completed this week to allow for installation of the grid next week.

Crane Work: Saturday will be a big day for big objects . . . one weighing more than five tons.  A large crane will be mobilized on Friday in preparation for removing two 47 year-old multi-zone HVAC units from the roof and installing a single new “Annex Air” unit.  Several other large components of several exhaust fan systems will also be lifted into place. “Digging and Rigging” is the the company providing the gigantic crane.

Inspections: The next round of building inspections by the city will likely occur during the first week in April.  When completed, ceiling tiles can be installed which will make a significant difference in the look of the rooms.

Next Up: Floor covering and then case goods (cabinets) installation will be where much of April’s activity will be centered.

On Schedule: At this point, Phil Reece, the job superintendent for general contractor, Harman Construction, is pleased with how things are coming together with construction activities being pretty much on-schedule.

PHASE 2 (South Hallway classrooms): “Punchlist” wrap-up work

Field Prep Room (041A): A long-standing “to do” item has been to build and install wall pegs for boots, waders and nets in the Field Preparation room near the Greenhouse.  Arnie Driediger, EMU’s in-house carpenter, worked with Dr Jim Yoder to design and locate a wonderful set of wall pegs to neatly store these items.  Arnie also installed a large custom-built table in the Concourse Learning Space /Conference Room (053) which will soon be available for use by students, faculty and staff.  All four walls, three of which are glass, can be used as dry-erase marker boards.  Steve Gibbs, Classroom Technology Analyst from Information Systems, is working to install the 60 inch TV and conference room computer system on the west wall which will be Zoom-enabled to provide video conferencing functionality.  The table will accommodate eight persons.

Classroom colors, exhaust fan assembly, crane operator, Concourse Learning Space TV and table assembly, wader boots hung on wall.

Clockwise from upper left: color on walls; workers assemble a roof-top exhaust fan unit; “Digging and Rigging” crane operator; Steve Gibbs and Arnold Driediger install table and TV in Concourse Learning Space; “Boots on the Wall” in the Field Prep Room (041A).

 

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 03/09-03/13

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion – July 15, 2015

Painting: The first coat of primer has been applied to all finished drywall spaces.  Next week will see the application of the room color paints.

Ceiling Grid: With above-ceiling rough-in essentially completed the ceiling contractor’s workers will begin installing the ceiling grid structures throughout the Phase 3 renovation spaces.

Replacement Windows: The legacy window glass will be removed and replaced with high-efficiency glass.

Chemical Storage Removal: The “extreme team” from Clean Harbors arrived on campus today (Thursday, March 12) and they were able to quickly ensure the stability of the most dangerous chemicals remaining in the last occupied section of the Chemical Storage room.  The regular disposal team will arrive tomorrow (Friday, March 13) to take all chemicals remaining in the storage room to a truck for final removal, which will provide the “all clear” status for construction workers to complete their demolition and rebuilding work in the Chemical Storage area.

Clean Harbors "extreme team" members on left, chemicals on shelves awaiting disposal on right.

Left: Members of the Clean Harbors “extreme team” completed their work to stabilize the most hazardous chemicals on March 12.
Right: Chemicals on shelves await the arrival of the Clean Harbors disposal team on Friday, March 13.

Crane Work: Crane work to remove the old air conditioning units from the roof and install the new one continues to be “on hold” due to weather.  With the rapid thawing of last week’s snow the area around Suter is “one muddy mess”.  The work will likely not happen until next week but could be delayed further if significant rain occurs between now and then.

Spring Break Work: Having no classes in Suter over Spring Break allowed construction workers full access to spaces in Phase 2 areas to complete some final “punch list” items.  This work included installation of retractable power cords in the Physics lab (room 020), installation of additional receptacles in the General Chemistry lab (room 037), installation of a new flake-ice maker machine in the Advanced Biology Hallway (047) and installation of a receptacle in the Greenhouse.  Work also continues to address startup problems with the vacuum air system and cadaver drapes closet exhaust system which should be completed this week.

Chemical Storage room sans cabinets; primer paint on Advanced Chem walls; muddy ruts on north side of Suter; retractable power cords in Physics room.

Clockwise from top left: Chemical Storage room 035A after removal of cabinets; primer paint on walls in Advanced Chem (room 025); muddy mess on north side of building; newly installed ceiling retractable power cords in Physics (room 020) completed over Spring Break.

 

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 03/02-03/06

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion – July 15, 2015

Dry Wall: Hanging the drywall is, for the most part, completed and drywall finishing is underway.

Above-ceiling Rough-In Work: Contractor crews continue to do rough-in work for the above-ceiling utilities which primarily involve heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) components.

Data Network Cabling: The network cabling contractor has finished pulling network cables.

Painting: As drywall finishing is completed the painting contractors will begin their work this week.

Chemical Storage Removal: Dr Steve Cessna is directing the operation to empty the Chemical Storage room so that removal of some concrete block walls, plaster ceilings and asbestos abatement can begin.  A huge milestone was achieved on Tuesday, March 3, when Dr Cessna and John Spicher completed their tasks to remove the chemicals that will continue to be stocked at EMU.  The remaining “waste” chemicals have been consolidated to a relatively small area of the Chemical Storage rooms to await final disposal next week by waste management contractor, Clean Harbors.  Some of the demolition work in the Chemical Storage rooms area will be performed this week.

Crane Work: Crane work to remove the old air conditioning units from the roof and install the new one will follow the removal of waste chemicals.  It will also depend upon the weather since the ground where the crane will operate from needs to be firm and fair skies will be needed so that roof repairs can be made as roof units are removed and installed.  It is likely that this will not occur until mid-to-late March.

Clockwise from upper left: Organic Chemistry ceiling rough-in; Microbiology finished drywall; North Hallway and Study Nooks finished drywall; data network cable workers pull last of seven miles of cable.

Clockwise from upper left: Extensive above-ceiling rough-in systems in Organic Chemistry Lab (room 025); Finished drywall in Microbiology Lab (room 021); Finished drywall in North Hallway with Study Nooks; network data cabling workers complete pulling nearly seven miles of cable.

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 02/23-27

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion – July 15, 2015

Dry Wall: Hanging drywall on the metal frame stud walls inspected last week is the newest stage of work on Phase 3 classrooms.  Drywall finishing will follow immediately so that painting can be scheduled.

Above-ceiling Rough-In Work: The in-wall rough-in work was completed and inspected last week for plumbing, electrical and gas utilties so that drywall hanging could begin this week.  Contractor crews continue to do rough-in work for the above-ceiling utilities which primarily involve heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) components.

Data Network Cabling: The network cabling contractor should finish pulling nearly seven miles of network cables into the Phase 3 construction area this week.

Roof-top HVAC Units: Preparations are underway to schedule crane work within the next 7-10 days to remove the last of the 40 year old HVAC roof-top “PAC” units and replace them with a new state-of-the-art multi-ton HVAC unit.

Chemical Storage Room Hazardous Contents signChemical Storage Logistics: One of the most challenging tasks for Phase 3 construction is to remove all chemicals from the three chemical storage rooms on the east end of Suter Science Center.  Under the leadership of Dr Steve Cessna, Professor of Biology and EMU’s current Chemical Hygiene Officer, the complete inventory of stored chemicals was finalized late last year.  After evaluating the inventory details it became apparent that a strategy of disposing of the most hazardous chemicals and temporarily storing others would be required.  It was also determined that significant outside expertise would be needed to safely dispose of the most hazardous chemicals.  Contracts have now been signed with Clean Harbors to remove these chemicals the week of March 9-13.  This operation will likely impact the activities around the Chemical Storage rooms when they are on site to physically remove the chemicals being disposed of.  Appropriate notifications to the campus community will be provided near the actual times for this activity.

Front-of-room east wall of Advanced Chemistry, room 033; North Hallway study nooks; looking toward front-of-room south wall of Microbiology, room 021.

From top left: Advanced Chemistry (room 033) front-of-room east wall dry wall partition; North Hallway study nooks; dry wall installation in Microbiology (room 021, looking towards front-of-room south wall) .

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 02/16-02/20

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion – July 15, 2015

This update is very late this, in part due to the various weather events experienced this week . . . snow, ice and extreme cold.  This has also had some impact on the construction work, although not significantly.

Rough-In Work: This continues to be the most significant construction activity this week . . . contractor crews doing rough-in work on the complete range of building utilities — mechanical (HVAC), electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems.

Metal Stud-wall Partitions: The main stud-wall framing is completed and the inspections for in-wall utilities will be completed by end of week in preparation for the dry-wall installation expected to begin early next week.

Data Network Cabling: The network cabling contractor begins pulling nearly seven miles of network cables into the Phase 3 construction area this week.

Study nooks in North Hallway and infrastructure of Organic Chemistry lab (Room 25).

From upper left: emerging study nooks in North Hallway; plumbing for Organic Chemistry lab (Room 25); ductwork for 3 of the 9 fume hoods in O-Chem lab; panorama view of O-Chem lab.

 

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 02/09-02/13

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion – July 15, 2015

Rough-In Work: The most significant construction activity this week is with contractor crews doing rough-in work on the complete range of building utilities — mechanical (HVAC), electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems.

Masonry: A new section of floor-to-ceiling block wall is now in place at the west end of the North Hallway where it will join the North/South Concourse near the new north entrance to Suter.

Metal Stud-wall Partitions: The main stud-wall framing is completed and secondary partitions, such as waist-high walls for the Organic Chemistry (Room 025) workstations, are being constructed.

Roof Preparations: In the coming weeks a crane will be used to place a very large HVAC unit on the roof.  Ahead of that significant operation, roof work is being done for smaller exhaust system fans and some additional sky-lights.

Hallway air ducts; water fountain mounting stands; new masonry wall in North Hallway; temporary sprinkler system workshop; Organic Chemistry lab station partitions.

Clockwise from upper left: Large air ducts in North Hallway ceiling for to connect to lab fume hoods; North Hallway water fountain mounting stands; new masonry wall at west end of North Hallway; temporary sprinkler system workshop in room 33; waist-high lab station partitions in Organic Chemistry room 25.

 

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 02/02-02/06

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion – July 15, 2015

Steel Stud Wall Framing: Most of the steel studded walls are in place.  Carpenters are adding wooden blocking where cabinets will be hung after the dry wall is installed.

Masonry: “In-filling” is nearly complete (places where doors or openings previously existed) and an entirely new block wall will be constructed between the west end of the north hallway and the north entrance to the Concourse.

Electrical, plumbing, HVAC Rough-In: Installing all the plumbing, electrical, gas and HVAC components that are hidden above ceilings, in walls and below the floors is the lion’s share of the contractors’ activity this week.  The HVAC system is particularly large and complex due to the number of fume hoods (about a dozen) for the labs and classrooms along the north hallway.

Some updates about PHASE 1 and 2 activity:

Window treatments (blinds) arrived last weekend and were installed on all south-facing windows in classrooms along the south hallway and in rooms 104 and 055.  This will significantly improve the projection screen viewing in those rooms on bright, sunny afternoons, particularly during the winter months when the sun’s path is lower toward the horizon.

A sewer leak was discovered in the crawl space under the south end of the North/South Concourse on Tuesday. The new restrooms, near the first floor elevator, were closed Tuesday afternoon but were returned to service mid-morning on Wednesday when repairs were complete. Fortunately the leak was well contained within a limited area of the crawl space and did not harm any building systems or occupants. Professionals were consulted by the contractor and EMU, and best practice protocols are being used for the cleanup operations.

The final task to be done with any large-scale, complex heat/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system is “testing and balancing”.  This activity has been underway since early December for the HVAC systems in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 areas of the renovation project.  The Phase 2 areas (classrooms, labs and faculty offices on the south half of the building) pose the greatest challenges because of the fume hoods installed.  The professional specialist contracted to do this work hopes to complete testing and balancing this week.

From upper left: HVAC duct work rough-in; gas piping rough-in; window shades in SSC 104; electric panel rough-in boxes; metal stud framing with wood blocking to anchor wall-hung cabinets.

Top row: HVAC duct work rough-in; gas piping rough-in. Bottom row: metal stud framing with wood blocking to anchor wall-hung cabinets; electric panel rough-in boxes; window shades in SSC 104.

Suter Renovation Work This Week: 01/26-01/30

& Suter Science Renovation.

PHASE 3 (North Hallway classrooms): Expected completion date – July 15, 2015

Gravel Service Road: Construction of the gravel service road from Parkwood Drive to the east end of Suter Science Center is finished.

Chemical Storage Logistics: A way must be found to safely remove and store chemicals now located in the Chemical Storage Area while this area is being renovated.  This includes disposing of chemicals not needed and moving all others to a secure and safe temporary storage location.  A small group of faculty is exploring options that might be available from an organization with expertise in this highly specialized area.

Demolition: Mostly completed except for the Chemical Storage Area, pending the removal of chemicals.

New Stud Walls: The framing contractor has quickly installed new metal stud walls to create new classrooms:

  • 019 Micro Prep
  • 021 Microbiology
  • 025 Organic Chemistry
  • 033 Advanced Chemistry
  • 030 Research and its related small labs 030A-D
Phase 3 Floor Plan

Phase 3 Floor Plan (click for larger)

Ductwork: As in Phase 2, these classroom labs have very complex heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, all of which require significant ductwork.   Several weeks of work will be required to “rough in” these systems.

Electric and Plumbing: Nearly all the electrical circuits are replaced in Phase 3, along with the plumbing systems.  The decision to build Suter with a crawl space instead of what could have been slab-on-grade, provides significantly more flexibility for a major renovation project.  However, working for long hours in this space, that ranges from barely three feet to nearly six feet, is difficult.  This work is now well under way.

Masonry: Phase 3 requires cutting new doorways into the North Hallway concrete block walls as well as filling in some of the old doorways.  Masons will build a section of new masonry wall where the North Hallway joins the North/South Concourse created in Phase 2.

Job foreman, Phil Reece, has led his teams effectively and they are, for the moment, slightly ahead of the planned job schedule.  But as is always the case in renovations, surprises could still be lurking.

From upper left: metal stud walls; service road; aligned lab-to-lab doors; North Hallway

From upper left: Block walls down – metal stud walls going up; gravel service road; lab-to-lab aligned doors for rooms 033A, 025, 025A, 021 and 019; North Hallway looking east, lab 021 immediately on left.

New Year! New Suter Renovation Area – Phase 3

& Suter Science Renovation.

Contractors completed construction work on Suter Science Center Renovation Phase 2 by the target date of December 12. Science faculty, staff, some students and support staff from departments such as Physical Plant and Information Systems worked feverishly between December 13 and 23 to move into the newly renovated spaces as well as move out of the rooms along the north hallway.  Classes began January 5 in most of the newly renovated spaces, including the two new large classrooms SSC 104 and 055.

While EMU employees benefited from the Christmas/New Years holiday break, some contractor employees worked most weekdays except Christmas and New Years doing asbestos abatement work which involves isolating areas of the building containing the hazardous material.  Special equipment was set up to provide reduced air pressure in the areas being worked on to ensure that any disturbed asbestos particles were contained.  They were able to complete all but a few small, isolated areas prior to the return of employees and students for the new year.

PHASE 3 (north corridor classrooms): Expected completion date – July 15, 2015

Work for most of January will be demolition (referred to as “demo”) of the Phase 3 renovation rooms along the north hallway.  This involves removing all the old lab cabinets, fume hoods, plumbing and most of the block walls that created these rooms when Suter was built more then 45 years ago.  All cabinets with glass doors were removed from the building intact, along with a few select lab cabinets that will likely become home work benches for friends of EMU.  Much of the material removed during the demo process is being sorted by type and recycled where possible to minimize what goes to the landfill.

A new service road is being constructed to provide access to the east side of Suter Science Center from Parkwood Drive, passing just east of the Turf Field.

This week’s pictures show rooms in various states of demolition, handling of demolition materials and grading for the new service road.

Clockwise from top: large fan systems for asbestos abatement; workers consulting the drawings; rubble from old Room 31.

Clockwise from top: large fan systems for asbestos abatement; workers consulting the drawings; rubble from old Room 31.

From top left: block rubble awaiting removal; new doorway cut into north hallway; new doorways to special research labs; filling in old doorway in north hallway.

From top left: concrete block rubble from wall of old Room 25; new doorway cut into new Microbiology Lab (new Room 21); three of four doorways in west wall of Room 30 for small special research labs; old doorway filled in for new Organic Chemistry lab (new Room 25).

 

From top left: new service road to Parkwood Drive; dumpsters for sorted demolition materials; temporary bar joist shoring after removal of supporting block walls; demolition of fume hoods.

From top left: grading for new access road from Parkwood Drive to east side of Suter; dumpster bins of sorted demolition materials; shoring temporarily holding bar joist for roof; demolition of fume hoods from old rooms 25 and 25A.