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In May 2012, North Bennet Street School began the process of acquiring a new campus on North Street in Boston's North End. This blog is a chronicle of the process of planning, design and construction involved in the move to the new buildings.
Monday was another beautiful sunny day…perfect for the crane crew and for photographs. The crane was on site to continue erecting the link structure. The first photo shows the building dwarfed by the crane. In the second, the steel has been moved off the truck and is being made ready to be lifted into place.
The next photo shows the link structure taking shape in the gap between the two existing buildings.
The back of the link structure is almost directly above the Sumner tunnel. This photo shows workers erecting scaffolding and barriers to create a safe zone for working. The exit from the tunnel is visible in the lower left corner of the photo.
More scaffolding was erected to protect pedestrians during the removal of the existing windows which is scheduled to begin soon. The new, historically accurate windows are in production.
The theme of this week’s update is transformation.
Below is a photo of one area of the north wing basement taken in January before construction began.
Cleared of old mechanical systems and with a new floor, it’s easier to imagine the same area as a woodworking bench room for continuing education workshops.
Similarly, the second floor of the north wing before construction started…
now has designated spaces for carpentry…
…for violin making and repair
… and for jewelry making and repair.
Outside, work continues to transform a former police station garage into the new main entrance and exhibit spaces of the ‘link’. The scaffolding below was erected to prepare the exterior wall of the north wing for the erection of the roof of the link structure…scheduled to begin next Monday.
The weather is cooperating with a week of beautiful sunny days. The steel erection in the link structure, cement pouring and other major tasks on North Street are underway.
The first photo, taken from a building across the street, shows the busy construction site with the steel structure taking shape in the space between the buildings and material being loaded through the windows in the north building.
The next photo is taken from the third floor of the north building looking at the new public spaces above the existing garage (now the lobby). The balcony steel is in place and it’s possible to get a sense of the shape of the new public spaces. The windows on the exterior of the two buildings will remain, providing internal views to the public spaces from the workshop spaces in each wing.
Under the metal decking above, is the new lobby space below. The photograph is taken from where the front door will be. Looking toward the reception area and the tool store/gallery beyond.
Meanwhile, walls are ready for paint and new mechanical systems are installed in the third floor of the north building.
Next week, more structural work on the link, mechanical system installation and the beginning of work in the street to tie mechanical systems to the city grid.
It is amazing what goes into a ‘simple’ construction project. The approach to the new facility on North Street is about as straightforward as a construction project can be. There is little structural work being done to the existing buildings. New partition walls and new utilities (heat, plumbing and electrical). But, even a simple project requires detailed drawings and coordination. Layer that with an extremely ambitious schedule and it doesn’t feel simple at all.
A quick look at one of the mechanical system drawings gives some sense of the complexity.
This bar chart is the schedule, showing all the simultaneous work being done on each floor.
New heating pipes running along the exterior walls have many connected parts.
Air conditioning and dust collection require the installation of coordinated duct work.
Meanwhile… nature works its magic drying the new cement floor in the lobby.
Next week, the crane comes back to install the upper floors of the link structure.
Some big equipment was on site this week and the weather was beautiful. Taking a moment to enjoy the blue sky and watch the building take shape was a pleasure during this week of sad news.
On Tuesday, the cement mixers arrived and pumped the cement from the truck to the new lobby floor in the link structure.
On Wednesday, a crane lifted steel beams for the link structure. The first two pictures show the steel on the truck.
…being lifted into position in the space between the two buildings.
…from the back of the building looking toward North Street as the beams are set in place.
The first vertical supports are installed.
Inside, initial inspections are going well, mechanical systems are being installed, walls are being finished and prepped for paint, and work continues in the elevator pit and basement.
Every Tuesday, the design and construction team meet on site. Details both small and large are discussed and decisions are made. In five short months the construction will be done and the doors will be open welcoming new and returning students. The pressure is on.
The photo below shows a few of the regulars from the Tuesday meetings (left to right), Kevin Aylwin and Rose Conti of Bond (the construction manager), Stratton Newbert of Buro Happold Consulting Engineers and Steve Goodwin, the site manager for Bond. Not shown are members of the NBSS staff, the architects and project managers from Colliers International.
At other meetings, NBSS staff and faculty members are beginning to think about the organization and coordination of the move this Summer!
Work on site this week was mostly inside… adding the wiring for power, data and duct work for the mechanical systems. Some rooms, including a third-floor machine room pictured here, are almost ready for paint.
Next week, the crew will begin to install the structural steel in the center/garage area, getting ready to support the new gallery and meeting spaces above the new entrance.
There is a bit of déjà vu on site this week… the activity is similar to last week as more material is delivered to the site and installed. The first photo below shows a delivery of drywall waiting to be hoisted through the windows into the North building.
Once inside, the drywall is quickly installed.
Also happening this week, crews are finishing demolition of the old heating system in the basement and preparing the link structure for the structural steel that will support the second and third floors.
What is difficult to portray in still photos is the level and pace of activity. The site is hopping !
Doors, windows and walls… it’s all coming together at North Street. More than 50 door frames were air-lifted into the building using a crane this week.
Some of them barely fit through the window.
A custom window model also arrived this week. The windows are being custom fabricated to match the existing windows. The model window will be installed and evaluated before production begins on the 223 new windows.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the amount of electric cable being installed in the walls could be measured in miles. Soon it will all be covered by drywall.
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