May Construction Update from Bill Thornton

IMG_0450The big difference in the last week is not just on Iuka Avenue. The drive from southwest Ohio to Columbus has gone from water standing in the fields to tractor work stirring up a lot of dust storms. Sometimes you can see the dust off in the distance long before you can see the equipment in the field.

On Iuka, it is not quite dry enough and it will not be. There was a big track hoe in the back to dig out for the footers of the elevator tower. When they got down two feet short of where they needed to be, they hit water and a big sand vein. The excavation was suspended at that time to gather all of the proper soil engineers to determine the course of action needed. That has happened and the concrete work is proceeding, although not all easy. The water runs continually in the bottom of the hole and must be pumped out. The footers are extra wide and in some cases deeper than anticipated and the edges of the excavation are much farther back. Because of the lack of stability with all that sand deep in the ground, the concrete now has to be pumped in to be able to get it where it needs to be. So it will take more concrete and even a few more re-bars than originally planned. That is why there is a contingency line item in the contract price. I am still counting on not using it all. The concrete walls may be up to grade as I write this. The footer for the new stairway from the basement in the original house is finished. The wall will come up when the concrete work for the elevator area is complete.

This sand has to have been deposited many, many years ago by the creek that used to run down Iuka valley. I suspect that once upon a time it went through the Mirror Lake area. I guess that since it started up our way, Jim Demler thought it was our job to drain Mirror Lake.

Inside, the plumbing, electric and fire suppressant is finished on the second and third floor and ready for inspection. The electrician said they were up to about four miles of wire installed, but who is counting. There is some drywall installed on the third floor, in the closets and the hallways. In the halls, the drywall is above the sprinkler pipes to separate them from the unheated attic area. After all of the inspections have been completed a ceiling will be added below the pipes and wires that are there. All of the hardwood floors in the original house have had the first coat of sealer applied and they all look great. Most of them are hidden right now, all covered with heavy paper to keep people like me from making a mess of them.

The big news for me was in the basement of the 57 addition. We removed all of the walls to make it one big room for dining, large functions and parties. Since the center wall was a supporting wall, something had to be done. The steel beam replacing the wall is now in place and all of the supporting scaffolding that was there is now removed. That is a big milestone for the project. We can now get a better idea of what the room will look like and it allows other work to commence.

We had another furniture meeting, this time three of our undergraduate brothers joined us. Together we refined our selections and we will be back there in a few days to finalize some additional decisions. All of our selection for floor coverings and most of the wall colors have been finalized.

For our farmers who are probably behind in their planting, on May 2 I saw one that must have wanted to save storage expense. The combine was in the field harvesting last fall’s corn crop. I believe I know where they were going next, just down the road was another field of standing corn.

I know, you farmers want to keep planting but I sure would like some rain on my garden.


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