May/June Construction Blog
The last two months have seen dramatic transformations at the King Edward site. With new pile foundations for the west wing and squeaky clean, new storm windows affording fantastic views, the future certainly looks bright!
Our northeast entryway has received some much needed love this past month. With a four-storey volume awaiting a future staircase, this location is currently being patched, repaired and stabilized where required.
On the western portion of the school site, the installation of new pile foundations was a significant milestone following last month’s excavation of the historic foundations. With a diameter of 1.2 meters and drilled over ten meters into the ground, eight new piles now form the foundation for the new west wing.
Once the holes were excavated by the hydraulic piling machine, rebar cages were installed with two cement mixer loads of concrete required to hold everything in place – imagine that a four-storey addition has the structural support of near equal its height underground!
Inside, the air handler installation continues including the beginning of ductwork that will circulate conditioned air throughout the facility.
Work also continues in fitting up the boilers that are now being insulated and receiving their new exterior housings.
Every visit we’re amazed by the natural daylight beginning to stream the new windows! Locally sourced to minimize environmental travel impacts for LEED certification, new wooden storms windows are almost completely installed.
120 new storms windows with an additional 60 transoms are required to fill-in-the-blanks of windows that no longer exist. The Calgary Board of Education removed two of every set of windows during the 1970s to reduce operating costs. Complete with tempered glass panes for durability, these new windows will be installed throughout the heritage portions of the school – reinstating the historic window configuration from over a century ago.
This change will see restored 100-year-old windows with mullions and nine panes each, restored on the inside. While historic windows will be touchable from the interior of tenant spaces, new exterior storm windows will ensure occupant comfort and protection of heritage fabric for years to come.
A notable feature is also the operable transom windows that will allow tenants to moderate their spaces with natural ventilation while also supporting cSPACE’s sustainability objectives.
One last internal demolition piece this month included adding a lintel to enlarge the opening between the corridor and Alberta Craft Council’s new Calgary space. Together with other locations in the school, this exposed brick will add a unique character element together with a gracious threshold for the public to pass.
Progress is also being made on the installation of the elevator. During the past month, the hoistway construction has been underway with car rails and sliding guides being installed within the cinderblock shaft.
Inside tenant spaces are also in various states of completion with demising walls receiving drywall and backing boards ready to accommodate new sink fixtures to support artistic practice.
With only new windows and unfinished drywall in place, we can begin to see the beginnings of great studio spaces and the character of a unique historic place – all coming together!
Efforts are now being directed to the sandstone facade of King Edward. Rebuilding the sandstone chimney will be one exercise to come, but for the meantime a detailed analysis and survey are being conducted. The ghost of the roofing tar line from the 1950s gymnasium addition has carefully been removed – not a fun job!
The historic carved sandstone façade and character details have all in some part been damaged by wind, rain and snow and require repair or replacement. Demands placed on the original building by additions in 1956 and 1967 have also stressed mortar joints between courses of stone.
Questions have been raised about how we incorporate salvaged sandstone from the site, or acquire material sourced from abroad. Our masonry contractor suggests that the refashioning of sandstone windowsills from oversized sandstone “field potatoes” in their yard may be one such suitable recourse. There seems to be an interesting story that is emerging to keep a part of Calgary sandstone heritage alive and well!