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!


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!

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