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Friday Update

20 Nov 2009

Hi Folks,

As construction begins in earnest on our new building at 184 Summer Street, we’ve decided it would be a good idea to provide the Agassiz community [past, present, and future!] with weekly updates on what’s happening at the site, what’s coming down the pike, and what opportunities there are to volunteer some sweat equity.  I’ll be posting every Friday with a report from the field.  We’re also working on getting architect’s drawings, photos of construction, etc up on a separate page on the website – keep an eye open for  it….

So to start – a quick recap of where we are so far:  About 90% of the demolition has been done by our volunteer crews, and we’ve gotten a price of about $4K to complete the structural demolition [i.e., taking down walls that are part of the structural system of the building and therefore require some careful reinforcing before they come down].  The five work days we had over the summer and fall pulled – wait for it – over 30 TONS of demolition debris out of the building, and my conservative estimate is that it saved us about $10K in demolition costs.  Not bad for five days of work!  Joel Bennett has been a great additional help in doing some of the trickier demolition – electrical, plumbing, etc – and in creatively finding ways to save us money:  like plumbing and installing a salvaged toilet in the basement to save us the 6-month rental of a $125/mo port-a-potty!  Joel has also generally been keeping the building safe before the Ed Herman, the general contractor, takes de facto ownership of the site for a few months.

In recent weeks, Ed and I have been working with the structural engineer on refining his drawings.  The building’s age and the number of additions that have been put on over the years conspired to befuddle us in several places, but we now have a final set of drawings in place and Ed has received several bids on the framing (installation of steel beams; building of new stairs, a new roof, and interior walls; etc).  There are lots of little bits of framing, closing holes in the floor, reinforcing or replacing studs, disconnecting old radiators, etc that are just waiting for some volunteers to come by and do some Saturday. Joel and I will be organizing another work-day some time after Thanksgiving for anyone who is itching to put their tool belt on for a day.

We also have been waiting for the utility companies to come and take protective measures around the power and phone lines on the site before excavators start rolling in, but a drive by the site this morning revealed that this work has [finally] been done.  What this means is that the visible work will really start to pick up in the next two weeks:  an excavator will come in to dig a hole for the new stair tower next to the driveway, a demolition crew will come in to remove the porch and a large portion of the roof, and the framers will begin building a new roof, = installing steel, etc.  This is when things will start to get exciting!

As always, please feel free to email with questions or suggestions:  josh.safdie@gmail.com.