September 1st – 25th, 2015 Construction Blog
During the last few weeks of summer, work has continued in earnest with many trades continuing to overlap each other at King Edward School. From finding surprising artifacts to lead abatement, to the refurbishment of historic windows and the insertion of new structural steel, to the epic extraction of historic boilers brought out into the light of day – this entry includes it all.
To start, abatement of lead paint from plastered walls is occurring on many floors before selective demolition for new openings can be cut. Under the cover of secretive orange shelters this work of remediating hazardous paint material has been hidden from view.
With the old fan room now a memory, preparations for a new elevator to be skewered through the historic structure is also underway. Once the openings have been cut and elevator installed, this welcome addition will provide accessibility to all and an alternative for those daunted by the workout that comes with scaling lofty flights of stairs.
Incisions through the building now also include openings through every floor with an added chimney shaft for the new boiler plant. As part of redeveloping this heritage building a “sleight of hand” is required to notate the existing sandstone chimney block-by-block, and then to dismantle and rebuild it on the opposite north corner of the school. Undoubtedly this will cause some curiosity when examining this discrepancy on historic photographs in the years to come!
In some areas where new doorways and large openings are anticipated, structural steel headers have been carefully inserted before the brick can be removed below. An eventual opening at this location in the renovated east attic will signal a dramatic new entry for our cupola gallery and artist studios. Home to Teacher Stuart Kennedy’s museum with arts, science and historical memorabilia back in the day, soon this space will be home to a hive of creative expression from Calgary’s artists.
On the ground floor too, incisions have been made for new mechanical runs to service new energy efficient fan coil heating. In this instance a small excavator is being used to clear a trench below terrazzo in a space that will be transformed for the teachers and tots of our Maria Montessori Education Centre tenant.
The most dramatic image of the past few weeks has once again been related to our historic boilers. As we have mentioned in past blogs, the boilers doors themselves will be retained as character-defining features – embedded in the floor under glass and adjacent to the new theatre space. Beyond these doors however, the large working heat transfer drums need be removed to make way for new HVAC equipment.
With the historic boiler room being repurposed for new ventilation systems, some serious modifications are required to allow this new equipment to be installed. First required is opening the 1912 sandstone exterior wall so that the historic boilers can be pulled out along with the brick used to encase them.
With incredible engineering and construction savvy, large I-beams have been used to support the weight of three upper floors of load bearing sandstone above. This task has involved investment in new footings and the intricate placement of temporary steel structure to distribute the weight and allow for the wall opening to be created. A collective sigh of relief was shared when the wall below was opened up and no cracking occurred on the exterior stonewalls and floors above.
With the new opening cleared, the process of extracting the old boilers drums from their 100-year-home came by excavator and chain – carefully dragging each boiler drum out in the fashion of a big catch. Luckily we were able to capture this video sequence of the event for the record books.
It’s hard to believe after seeing this space with boilers for so long that pictures and memories will now have to suffice.
As our investment in the vision for cSPACE King Edward grows and time also speeds along, so too does our collection of artifacts found in the cracks and between walls continue to multiply. While one surprising artifact recently found was a 1970s men’s magazine, a 1918 civic election card also came as a nice discovery when water-damaged sills were removed to add new window jambs for refurbished windows.
Thanks to Sam and Scott and our Clark Builders crew for taking care to retrieve artifacts like this. Not only do they remind us of days gone by, but also with an upcoming federal election, some notions like, “For Your City’s Sake Vote” found on this elections card from December, 1918 still rings true. So too do we look forward to learning more from the stories and secrets this old school has yet to tell!