Week 9, June 19-25

A lot of work went on in the cat clinic this week, most of it electrical. Unfortunately for this construction blog, electrical work is not very photogenic. It is very important though, and in the interest of truth-in-construction-blogging, I tried my best to take photos. The result:

There are wires and junction boxes. And Kleenex. But I’m fairly sure the Kleenex are not related to the electrical system.

Running the electrical required the electricians to go up in the attic:

The attic is quite large and maybe someday could be finished space. But for now it just contains large steel trusses and various vents:

Here is another view into the attic, looking through the ceiling of what will eventually be the doctor’s office. It shows two of the many potlights that have been installed.

Stuff like emergency exit signs is not very glamorous, but necessary:

Also necessary: more concrete work to fill in some troughs left in the bathroom floor after demolition.

It takes a lot of wire to electrify a cat hospital…

…and the electrical panel is looking correspondingly busier:

Dan and his crew from Danielsan Electric are doing an excellent job. But are they as skilled as this electrician?

(Note: Do not ever allow your cat to play with electrical cords or outlets. It is a shock hazard and can seriously hurt your cat, even if he thinks he knows what he’s doing…)


Week 8, June 12-18

This week has been the installation of stuff that goes inside the walls — mostly HVAC and electrical. That means that part of the reception desk needs to be framed in as well so the electricians could run power to it. This is the view from the front door; the low framed wall on the right will eventually be part of the reception desk.

Can lights are going up in the ceiling:

And a lot of electrical outlets for all the lab machines, computers, etc. that a cat clinic needs:

The wall that the two treatment tables will be attached to is accumulating more and more plumbing, electrical, and vacuum lines, as well as a lot of drink cups from thirsty contractors — it’s been very hot! The building will need a lot more climate control before it is ready for kitty occupants.

There’s so much electrical they need an on-site cheat sheet:

…and the electrical panel is getting much bigger. Old on the left, new on the right:

The work in the building this week is not as dramatic as demolition or framing, but just as necessary in getting the cat clinic from ideas on paper to a functioning reality. Stay tuned…


Week 7, June 5-11

This week the most exciting renovation is outside:

It is great to be able to let everyone driving down Mass St. know what the building is going to be. Before too long it will be time for the “Coming Soon” to be peeled off and the doors to open!

In the meantime, construction is humming along. More plumbing is going in. The next photo was taken from the door of the client bathroom (also newly framed in this week). It kinds of blends in with the framing and portable scaffold behind it, but there are PEX and PVC pipes in the wall of the bathroom opposite the door.

In addition to plumbing, the HVAC contractors started bringing stuff in:

I think those big tubes are air vents that will be attached here:

(That is a vent in the ceiling with the cover removed. I took a photo of it because it seems huge, but it’s difficult to tell that from the picture.) 

Some of the ductwork coming down from the ceiling will be exposed. Also the next photo also shows that the last of the arch around the podium was finally demolished. (It was so high that it could only be reached by standing on the ceiling of the procedures room — once the procedures room had been built.)

More ductwork:

The last bit of demolition was done this week, which was knocking out the bathroom in the back of the building. This is a view from the future breakroom through the demolished bathroom, into the mechanical room.

Also, the chandeliers finally came down.

The construction is far enough along that it is time to order cabinets and countertops. I had no idea there were so many choices involved! Some quality time was spent with the ring o’ laminate samples…

What colors are the cabinets and countertops going to be? You’ll have to wait until week 11…


Week 6, May 26-June 4

Okay, “Week 6” is ten days long, but there was time away from construction for the Memorial Day weekend in there, so we’ll call it a week. Also, this slightly incorrect time-measuring makes each week start on Sunday instead of Thursday. That seems reasonable, right?

On to the construction progress. We have now achieved what I will refer to as “The Forest of Framing”:

It is fun to walk through the walls, but it will be even more fun when the walls are solid.

The next photo is taken from the front door, looking through a temporary wall into the hallway between exam rooms 2 and 3.

Next is the treatment room. This is an important room: it is where hospitalized cats will stay, and where procedures such as dental cleaning, abscess draining, and blood drawing will take place. It also will house the lab machines and an area to clean and sterilize surgical instruments. The pony wall (I have learned something from watching all those hours of HGTV!) will have two wet tables backing up to it.

There is another thing in the photo above that I learned about on HGTV: PEX plumbing pipes.  I like them, and not just because they’re color-coded. Thanks, Action Plumbing!

I think there is going to be a lot more plumbing next week:


Week 5, May 19-25

This week has involved a whole lot of concrete. And, the first walls go up!

But before there can be walls, there has to be a level floor. And here is the newly poured concrete getting smoothed down.

The resulting floor looks great, and the contractors got right to work framing walls.

The concrete floor turned out so nice that we may not put any floor covering over it.

Once the framing really got going, the different rooms of the clinic became much more real. This is the future surgery room, x-ray room, and special procedures room framed out.

Here is the view from the doorway of the surgery room. A hall is on the other side of the framed wall. You can see an opening for a window to let some natural light into the surgery room. We’re reusing an interior window from the church in the opening.

This is the surgery room and the hall from another angle:

The wall with all four exam room doors in it is pretty big. I’m not sure how they lifted it into place.

Exam rooms 3 and 4 got framed in. In this photo you are looking into one exam room room and through it into the next one.

Now that we can walk through some of the rooms in 3D, it is much easier to visualize how this space is going to become an amazing cat clinic. Progress!


Week 4, May 12-18

This week has been about leveling the floor. And plumbing. Gravel is poured on top of the existing sloped concrete floor.

After the gravel is down, string lines were stretched across the space to show where walls are going to be. The locations of some of the counters were also spraypainted on the gravel. We used two pieces of plywood as stand-ins for the wet tables to figure out where exactly to put them. The gravelled area in these photos will become the treatment room, surgery, x-ray, and doctor’s office.

Before the cement can be poured on top of the gravel, more plumbing needs to be connected. These pipes will connect to the wet tables, the lab sink, and the scrub sink. (It’s pretty dusty in there at this point, as you can see by the dust ‘circles’ floating in the photo.)

The plumbing got inspected, then was covered over with more gravel:

Next week: a level concrete floor.


Week 3, May 5-11

X marks the spot…

…where concrete will be cut out so the plumbers can find the existing drains.

Luckily, the plumbers found what they were looking for:

Then some new pipe was attached to the existing drains. This part is for the new client bathroom.

To level the sloping floor, a concrete form is built around the edges of the area to be levelled. To the left of the form will be a ramp/hallway that goes to the back of the clinic. A shallow hole where the podium was has been filled in with concrete as well.

The holes cut to get to the drains are filled with concrete too.

Next week…

… will involve gravel.


Week 2, April 28-May 4

This week: more demolition.

The pulpit area started looking different:

And then really different:

Then gone:

Standing in one of the little rooms at the back of the building, you can see all the way to the front door.

The little rooms and bathrooms in the front of the building are rooms no more.

So the demolition is done. Next week: putting stuff in instead of taking stuff out!


Week 1, April 21-27

The demolition has gotten rolling quickly. By day 2 this is the view looking inward from the front door:

The first wall we started knocking down is now…

…barely a wall.

And soon the view from the pulpit looks like this:

The front bathrooms are not working so well anymore, but now you can see the original pink plaster walls, which are pretty cool.

By the end of the first week, most of the interior walls are gone. This is the view from the pulpit…except the pulpit has been dismantled. Part of it is in this photo on the right. You’ll see the pulpit again as part of the cat clinic. The pews are going to be reused as well.


Construction begins

Months of planning, zoning, and permitting work came first, but on April 21 we got the go-ahead to start construction.

Come on in and check out our progress … but first please note the yellow building permit in the window. We worked hard for that piece of paper!

The first part of any renovation project is arguably the most fun: demolition! The first thing that got smashed was a wall in the hall.

hall wall coming down

Interior windows and doors came out.

And the place started looking a bit messy.

The cabinets and sink in the photo above are from the Borders bookstore breakroom. We bought them when the Lawrence Borders closed. Eventually they will hold cat medications in the clinic pharmacy. Thanks, Borders!

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