Construction on ASI’s expansion project got under way at the end of May, and things have been progressing well over the past two months! Here’s a summary of what has been accomplished so far:
First, more than 700 tons of metal, concrete and asphalt were removed and recycled as the site (much of which had been parking lot space) was prepared for excavation. An earth retention wall along the Oakland Avenue side of the Nelson Cultural Center was also installed — 2,200 square feet of wall, to be exact!
Mass excavation began in early June, and crews exported 5,000 cubic yards of soil from the site. Concrete footings for the Nelson Cultural Center were poured, followed by foundation walls. At this moment, foundations walls along the entire west side and much of the south and north sides of the Nelson Cultural Center are in place. Earlier this week, erection of structural steel within the newly formed walls of the Nelson Cultural Center began.
Our online construction camera offers a great view of the site, capturing an image (like the one above) once every 15 minutes. What you can’t see on camera, though, is the work that is happening inside the Mansion; spaces on the lower level are being renovated, and newer spaces (the 1983 addition) are being remodeled.
Inside the Turnblad Mansion, modern ceiling tiles, floors and walls on the lower level have now been stripped away, revealing the original plaster ceiling—and how the space was originally divided. In late June, sections of the original floor were cleaned in order to evaluate their condition, as you can see in the photo at left. A portion of the original wood flooring at the foot of the stairs will be restored and left exposed. Remodeling of the 1983 auditorium—which will become two classrooms and a community hall—is also under way.
Demolition of the 1983 link between the Carriage House and the Turnblad Mansion is now complete. Construction crews have just poured the elevator sub-pit and footings for the elevator/stairway tower that will serve to connect both the Turnblad Mansion and Carriage House to the Nelson Cultural Center, greatly improving accessibility to the Mansion. Very soon, masonry on the elevator tower will begin.
On a final note, drilling rigs arrived on site last week, and so far about 20 wells (of a total of 96) have been drilled for the geothermal heating and cooling system that will be one of many sustainable features of the Nelson Cultural Center. You can see where the wells are being drilled in the lower right corner of the construction camera images (like the one above).