Week 24

Did I say “check back in two or three weeks” in my last post on this construction blog? Hmm. Well, it’s been more like six weeks, but I am happy to announce that the construction is done! We will be open for business and begin seeing kitty patients on October 31.

Starting on Tuesday, October 16, you will be able to make an appointment for your cat by giving us a call at (785) 856-MEOW (6369).

We are working very hard these next two weeks to get everything in the clinic purrfect for the cats of Lawrence. We can’t wait for this Halloween to get here! 




Weeks 18, 19, 20, and …

You may have noticed that the Cat Clinic construction blog is running late. There are two reasons for that: 1) the construction itself is running late, and 2) as we get closer to opening, there is so much to do that I no longer have time to take photos of the progress.

So from here on out the construction progress will be a mystery. Let’s pretend this is like a home improvement TV show. You, dear reader, are the homeowner who has to leave the premises so that you will be surprised at the final reveal of your newly renovated home. Except in our case, the big reveal will be of the completed Cat Clinic of Lawrence. Not quite as exciting as a free home renovation, but real life is no HGTV. For one thing, this project is taking a lot longer than two days.

Thanks for following our construction progress, and check back in two or three weeks for the Final Feline Finish! I hope. If only we had this guy on the job:


Week 17, Aug 14-20

This week the job site is finally starting to look like it might become a veterinary hospital. The cabinets went in:

Once they began going up, the progress was quick. Here are all the cabinets in the surgery prep area (where the scrub sink, autoclave, and area to wrap packs will go):

 Right side of the lab area cabinets:

 Left side of lab area:

Cabinets in an exam room that will become an exam table:

The electric supply for the x-ray machine is starting to go in:

Doors salvaged from the church are going to be exam room doors:

The insides of the cat townhouses (for cats to stay in while boarding) got put together. They are put together in a row. The whole row is too big to fit in one photo, but here are some of them:

The little boxes are steps to help older cats or young kitten to climb from level to level. The front doors of the cat townhouses are wood and glass. We have been staining the wooden part of the doors to match the pews that will be seating in the clinic:

The wet tables arrived and were installed in the treatment area:

The back doors to the exam rooms went in:

The window we reused from the church as an observation window into our isolation room went in:

The parking lot got a new sign:

 Now the parking lot just needs a whole lot of weeding …



Week 16, Aug 7-13

This week marks the end of the estimated time to complete construction — the estimate was 3 to 4 months. Running over time-wise puts us in the same boat as pretty much every other construction project ever, though, so I am trying not to stress about it too much.

The floors got their coat of epoxy this week, which ended up looking clean and neutral. They will be easy to sanitize, which is important in a cat hospital.

The reception area (and looking into one exam room):

The hall looking into three of the exam rooms:

Looking into exam room 1:

The epoxy in the front (reception and exam rooms) and back (halls, breakroom, restroom) is gray. In the medical areas (surgery, treatment, x-ray) it is light blue. Here’s a photo of the treatment area:

The gray and the light blue floors look different from each other in person.

Here’s a view of treatment from the opposite direction:

In other construction news, the Dillons grocery store across the street closed on August 13th. It is going to be torn down and a brand new Dillons built on the same site. Goodbye, “Dirty Dillons” — as this store was affectionately known. I am excited to have a brand new Dillons nearby in about a year. This is a view of the old one from the front yard of the Cat Clinic:

If only their construction could have been going on at the same time as the Cat Clinic’s.

Apart from the floors, the other progress this week was the installation of the breakroom cabinets I bought from the Lawrence Borders bookstore when it went out of business. In their new life they are part of the pharmacy area:

I think they turned out great, and they were an amazing bargain. Here’s a straight-on view (the gaps are for a small refrigerator and a sink):

Next week: more cabinets and (hopefully) more progress.


Week 15, July 31-Aug 6

To be honest, this week was not too exciting, constructionally speaking.

Progress consisted mostly of prepping the floor for the final covering, which will be epoxy. Before the epoxy, the floor has to be cleaned, and self-leveller poured in places where the floor is not flat.

The result:

That is the “waiting” side of the reception area. This is the other side of the reception room:

An exam room:

Hall leading to the exam rooms:

Hall leading to treatment area:

Hall leading to the break room: 

I know, fascinating, right?

Somewhat more exciting this week was the arrival of two big pieces of equipment.

The autoclave: 

 And the dental unit for cleaning cats’ teeth

 I can’t wait until it is time for the equipment to come out of the box!

Speaking of time, you may have noticed that the Cat Clinic is due to open in late August. That is still true, but very late August is probably a more accurate way to put it. There is still a mountain of things left to do before we are ready for our feline patients, but we’ll get there!


Week 14, July 24-30

This week the work was priming and painting the walls and ceiling. How many gallons of white paint does it take to cover the inside of a cat clinic? More than 70 (yep, seventy gallons):

Everything we didn’t want painted white (they used a sprayer) had to be covered in plastic:


The result:

That is the south hall, with the breakroom at the end. Turn right before the breakroom and there is another hall with a restroom and the mechanical room opening off of it. Next, a painted exam room, with construction dust hanging in the air (and an abandoned drink in the corner):

The side of the reception area where the desk will go, with the front door on the right:

 The view from the front desk (a.k.a. the inside of the front doors):

Next is a photo of the “waiting” side of the reception area. (Our goal is for cats and owners to not spend any time waiting, but I’m not sure what else to call the part of the reception area that will have seating.) Now that it is painted, this corner looks so clean and white … except for the pile of trash, that is. 

 This will be the pharmacy area (the doors to the exam rooms are on the right):

Here’s the view of the vaulted ceiling (now painted white), taken standing in the treatment area looking toward the front of the building:

Next is the entrance to the x-ray room on the left, and the isolation room on the right (no, it’s not a closet with a window; it is housing for contagious kitties who need to be hospitalized away from other cats). 

In addition to the paint job, the crew scraped the concrete floors to get them ready for the epoxy flooring to be poured next week. I didn’t take any photos of the floor scraping because that was too boring of a picture, even for me.

There was one other thing that got completed this week that I do consider photo-worthy though. I made a cross-stitch version of a Charley Harper print, and it came back from being framed this week:

 Where in the clinic should we hang it?


Week 13, July 17-23

This week, the cat clinic is starting to look pretty. At least, the windows are:

The windowsills come later — they will be oak, stained dark to match the pews which will be seating in the reception area. Another pretty window:

The curved part keeps the 8-foot ceiling from blocking the 10-foot window.

The afternoon light in the reception area is pretty, too. It is getting a little easier to imagine this room with seating and a reception desk, populated with cats (safely in their carriers) and their people.

The back wall under the arched ceiling is crying out for some kind of mural. I’ll have to work on that…

We will need a lot more light in the treatment area in order for us to see what we’re doing with our cat patients, but it is nice to have a window in the room anyway: 

It is hard to capture in a photo most of the work that went on this week, which was sanding all the mud and texturing the ceiling. All the white dust on the floor is from the sanding.

It was easy to get photos of some important deliveries this week, however. First were the cat townhouses:

That was one heavy box, with five unassembled cat townhouses packed into it. There was no way to move the box into the building, so it had to be unpacked piece by piece:

They don’t look too impressive at the moment, but eventually those melamine boards will be part of spacious, comfortable houses for cats to stay in when their owners are out of town.

There was another big delivery this week as well, which took up most of the treatment area — the cabinets:

There are a lot of cabinets; this is not all of them in the photo. A bunch more were put on the “roof” of the surgery room to be out of the way while the clinic is painted — which is on the agenda for next week…


Week 12, July 10-16

The construction this week has been a big leap forward in what the clinic looks like — drywall installation. That means real walls! It started with a large truck that barely fit in the driveway:

How did all that drywall get into the clinic? The truck has an arm that is part crane, part forklift that picks up a stack of drywall…

…flips it vertical and swings it off the truck…

…and moves it right through the front door.

Take one last look at the clinic before it has walls:

Because very quickly, this happened:

That is basically the same view as the photo before. The reception area got a ceiling the first day of drywalling:

Soon there were exam rooms:

And a surgery room, which is the room on the left, with a doorway, a window, and a hole for a pass-through (partially hidden behind the framing in this photo):

The drywall went up very quickly, and later in the week the mud and tape started to go up, which for the ceiling required guys to stand on these things:

They must have really good balance. After taping and mudding, here’s what some of the rooms looked like:

That’s part of the treatment area. Next is part of the pharmacy area, with doors to two exam rooms and a hall on the right: 

 Looking across the treatment area into the surgery room:

More of the treatment area; through the door is isolation, doctor’s office, and the x-ray room:

 Front door and waiting area of reception:

 Reception desk area, entrance to client restroom, and retail/food area of reception:

And the hall down the south side of the building, with the window to the surgery room on the right and the exterior wall on the left, leading down into the breakroom at the end of the hall:

It is very humid, so it is taking a long time for the mud to dry (even though it is over 100 degrees a lot of the time — ahh, Kansas in July), so next week will probably include more waiting for the walls to dry enough for sanding. Still, having walls is a big step forward for a building that 3 months ago looked like this:


Week 11, July 3-9

Construction milestones were reached this week, despite the fact that it was a short week for patriotic reasons. Main milestones: the electrical and the framing passed inspection.

The ceilings of the exam rooms had to be 8 feet instead of 10 feet because of the Energy Recovery Ventilator that is to be installed on top of one of the exam rooms. This week, the ERV finally arrived.

The ERV requires some large ducts, but seems like a great idea for saving energy while cooling, heating, and maintaining correct humidity in a cat clinic with 20 foot ceilings. Here it is with some of the ductwork attached (the ceiling is going to need some patching):

Another milestone this week was the installation of the pipes for the central vacuum system. It consists of several outlets with pipes connecting them to a central vacuum. When a hose is plugged into an outlet, it will suction stuff up like a vacuum cleaner. The system is for vacuuming the floor, and also for cleaning up flying fur after kitties get shaved for surgery. This second reason is why there is an outlet by the treatment tables’ future location:

The pipe above the central vacuum pipe is for waste anesthetic gas scavenging (it doesn’t have an outlet on it yet). Here is what the central vacuum outlets look like:

Other bits of wiring accomplished this week include the outside lights:

And the telephone lines (old on the left, new on the right):

The last milestone of this week:

Insulation! Blown-in cellulose insulation, that is. It gets blown into the building through a hose…

…then blown onto the walls.

It gets scraped down flat, then there is a lot left over to get vacuumed up.

The end result:

The building is noticeably quieter now that the insulation is done. Not bad for old newspapers!

Although several milestones were reached this week, we are not where I thought we would be (or at least where I said we would be by now back in Week 7). I did say we’d have cabinets going in by Week 11. Since drywall has to go in before cabinets, it’s looking like cabinets will be more like Week 13.

But in case anyone was really counting the days until Week 11 when they could find out the cabinet and countertop colors, I will at least reveal that the cabinets are . . . white! Crazy, I know. Also, the least expensive choice.


Week 10, June 26-July 2

This week has been more electrical work, with some HVAC thrown in. And the very last bit of framing was finished. There’s still so much to get through that the electrician needs a list:

The lights by the front door came off to get repaired, then they’ll go back on:

Sometimes you need to write where things go:

Yes, it does say “cat fan” in that photo. Not a fan shaped like a cat or a person who really likes cats (isn’t that everyone?), the cat fan that is getting hooked up here is the ventilation fan for the cat townhouses, so that cats who are boarding have fresh air.

In addition to electrical wiring, the clinic is getting data and telephone wiring this week, which I think is what this is:

The new electric service required a new meter on the outside of the building — meter number 3, although the first two are soon going to be out of commission.

Yes, there is a (plastic) superhero hanging from one of the old meters. Who he is and where he came from, I don’t know. But I can think of some construction superpowers I wish he had.

The HVAC done this week included vents in the roof, which are pretty much the only changes to the exterior of the building. What the vents lack in aesthetic appeal they will make up for by keeping the air in the clinic fresh and clean.

The last bit of framing to be done was also finished this week. I would call them “window wells” if they were on the ground; I’m not sure what to call them at the top of the windows. Anyway, the windows are 10 feet tall and the ceilings of some of the rooms are 8 feet, so curved window wells were framed in so that the top of the windows will not be covered.

Next week: inspections and insulation, and if things go really well, drywall!

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