Curious how the project is progressing? Here is a month by month synopsis of the construction project.
Worker census reached a high point mid-month with framers, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire sprinklers, drywall, painting, ceiling, flooring, elevator, concrete, roofing, sheet metal, and grading all on site. Finish materials were installed throughout the interior and exterior of the building: In the servery, craftsmen set wall tile and installed casework. Food prep equipment arrived and installation in the main kitchen began. Many parts of the building are looking close to complete and excitement is mounting.
Ojai was gifted with a wet March. This was good for the environment, but did cause some issues for construction crews. Between storms, crews pushed to install waterproofing on the roofs and exterior walls. Then, with areas waterproofed, drywall work began. The kitchen area is shaping up with installation of the large venting hoods complete. Many of the appliances have been delivered to the site and await installation.
As was true in January, construction was impacted by weather. This month, we had rain, frost, and snow (technically groppel). Still, the workers made great progress on the interior of the building and the roofers began their work over the kitchen and servery. To make up for lost days, construction workers put in overtime when weather permitted.
Much needed rain impacted construction during January, but the construction team still made huge strides. Trusses and sheeting for the flat roof over the kitchen and servery were installed, and the team moved on to installing the non-structural, sloped roof that will provide drainage for the vegetated roof. The rains did not affect mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work as workers were able to continue with rough-in in the basement when framers had to take days off.
Trusses were the focus for much of the month. Carpenters fabricated the eight massive ceiling support structures onsite and began installing the “flat chord” trusses for the living roof above the servery, kitchen, and back of house areas. While students and many faculty members were away for the break, crews readied the electrical service for the new dining hall.
Even with the Thanksgiving holiday, the construction crews made significant progress during November. Framing in the food prep and service areas are well underway upstairs. On the lower level workers have moved on to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. And, the large earth-movers are back at work bringing the site to its final contours.
When the Board was on campus this month, they took the opportunity to put their marks on the new dining hall. Senior, Yao, created a beautiful horse painting in the space of an “I” beam, with a spot for the signatures. (See her painting in the attached photos.)
The structural steel work was also completed this month, and framing has progressed quickly. First floor framing is complete, and upstairs, carpenters began with the kitchen and servery. Shear walling is being applied to the wood framing to make the building earthquake resistant: engineered plywood with no-less-than 110 nails per 4x8 ft. sheet is attached to the wall framing. Plumbers, electricians and heating, ventilation, air conditioning ("HVAC") trades have begun running their lines in the new walls.
The building has taken shape this month and now looks like a structure rather than a building site. The project reached an important milestone as crews poured the first floor slab, with conduit sleeves placed for electrical, telephone/data, and AV throughout the building. With structural concrete complete, ironworkers began installing the steel trusses that will support the roof. After completing the basement framing, carpenters moved to the first floor, where the remainder of the structure will be wood.
With the basement concrete complete, work on the main floor moved forward. The large peaked roof and surrounding terraces will be supported by steel columns and beams. Concrete pads, used to support the columns, were poured. Once the concrete cured, welders and ironworkers connected the steel columns to rebar that had been embedded in the concrete. They used as many as 42 welds on some columns.
Basement level walls were completed during two days of shotcrete operations and waterproofing of those walls began. Outside the construction fence, electrical and data conduits were installed in preparation for bringing them into the building. The crew buried marking tape directly above new underground lines to prevent damage during future construction.
On to steel. Plumbers installed under-slab piping and concrete workers began installing rebar (the supporting metal for concrete) for the basement footings and the retaining walls. A sample section of wall was filled with shotcrete, the same material and method used for swimming pools. After curing to full strength, this will be cut-open, inspected and tested in a lab for consolidation and compressive strength. The following video shows workers shooting concrete onto the basement wall forms.
The project achieved a significant milestone when Ventura County issued our building permit. Work to date has been performed under a permit for grading only. Landscape area and main level grading along with footing excavation are moving forward. Many of the footings are also retaining walls. In fact, about 75 percent of the basement level is comprised of footings. The eight-inch water line that will supply the kitchen and the fire sprinkler system was installed.
This month was all about rocks. Rocks larger than 6 inches diameter comprise more than 30 percent of the dirt volume—about 100 10-wheel truck loads of rocks—at the dining hall site. After filling and compacting a nine-foot-deep base, the basement pad is at grade and "certified." The initial phase of grading is complete.
Demolition work continued and a sewer trench was dug for the new facility. Heavy equipment processed earth, dug the new basement, and built up a pad for the main level of the new dining hall. Several very large boulders were encountered deep in the basement level. One of them took two excavators working together to pry it loose. Some of these larger rocks—estimated to weigh as much as 20,000 lbs.—may be used as features in the final landscape design. Work this month included efforts to relocate utilities surrounding the project site and prepare temporary fencing and access routes to serve school traffic and the construction crews.
The project got underway with demolition work to remove the two top tennis courts and other existing features within the construction zone. Some materials, including stones from the wall above the tennis courts, will be set aside for reuse in the finished landscaping.