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One of the ‘fun’ aspects of a major remodel project is that everything has to be brought up to current building codes.  One of the code requirements we didn’t think about was the height of the wrought iron railing. This original 1931 railing goes from the basement to 4th floor – and is not high enough to meet current code. Thankfully, the City of Lincoln recognizing that the primary user of this railing is young men in the prime of their life, we received special permission to keep the existing railing.

Unfortunately, we are not as lucky in a few other areas.  Due to the various bathroom remodels over the past 80 plus years – some of the bathroom floor joist had significant notches cut in them to accommodate plumbing.  While a new 2 x 12 has been placed next to the old joist, the city wants our engineers to review to ensure they are structurally sound.  We’re also waiting to see if we will have to install the special fire rated windows next to the fire escape…stay tuned.

If we are able to resolve these issues – insulation and drywall should start next week. 

The plumbing rough-ins for 3rd old bathroom sinks.  The sinks will be on the south wall — where the showers were located.

The rough in for the new washer/dryer on second floor.  This is in the hallway between the old and new side of the building.

the floor is being built up in what was the bedroom area of B1.  This will be a new study/computer room.  The west door that leads to the back lot will be removed and the stairwell filled in as the electical service is updated to the building.

Rough-ins nearly complete!

1964 electrical service -- will be replaced as part of the renovation

Most of the electrical, plumbing and fire sprinkler rough-ins in the 1931 building are complete. Unless you are into photographs of wires and pipes, there isn’t that much to see. Inspections, insulation and drywall should start next week.

This project will completely update all the electrical service in the building. The existing service of 600 amps is not sufficient for modern needs. The large electrical panels in the back of what was room B2 will be replaced, along with the sub panels on each floor.

Shower stalls have been installed in the 2nd and 3rd old bathrooms. The bathrooms will have a new layout. Each bathroom will have two private showers stalls with private dressing areas. The 2nd floor bathroom will have two private toilet stalls and the third floor will have a private toilet and urinal. The 1964 addition will have two showers, two toilets and a urinal in each bathroom. These will be done over the summer.

Taken in the southeast corner of what was B2 – this will become the buildings electrical service room and a new study center/computer lab.

3rd old bathroom — the showers stalls have been installed. 

Taken in the northeast corner of 2nd floor — looking into the new room 200. The electrical and plumbing rough-ins are nearly complete.

Permit in hand!

Late last week we received our building permit from the City of Lincoln. This week the contractors are finishing up the electrical and plumbing rough-ins to allow for insulation and drywall can start next week.

More demo in the basement – what was known as B2 is now gone – the wall between the living area and the beds has been taken down. The far back part of the room will become the new electrical service room. The front part of the room will be a quiet study area and possibly a computer lab. The basement bathroom was cleared and will be replaced with new water-saving fixtures.

Individual shower stalls will be installed next week in the 2nd and 3rd old bathroom. Each bathroom will have two private shower stalls and a small dressing area.

The electrician has been busy installing can lights. The Board decided to use can lights in the rooms and hallways instead of traditional light fixtures. This will avoid the constant battle of replacing broken fixtures.

What was Room B2 — standing in the living room — looking to the south (the old electrical panels are on the wall).  A new wall will be put up in the back to serve as the electrical room.  The floor will be leveled where the beds use to be and this will be a new study/computer room.

Basement bathroom has been gutted.

New shower stalls.  These will be installed next week.

Can light in the new room 200.

Windows are wonderful!

New windows on the old side of the house.

Dramatic changes this week – new windows were installed on the north, east and west side of the 1931 building.  The new windows will significantly improve the energy efficiency of the chapter house.  The existing windows were installed decades ago and had outlived their useful life.  Many of old window vinyl tracks had degraded to the point where it was a battle to keep the windows closed.  New windows are being installed in the entire building – from the 4th floor to the basement.  

The windows on the south side have not been installed. Fire code requires that any window within 10 feet of a fire escape be fire-rated.  These windows cost nearly four times of what the regular windows cost.  And, because it is an old building, everything is a custom size.

In addition to fire-rated windows, openings were cut into the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor to accommodate exit doors. Current fire code requires doors be used instead of the existing windows.

Fire sprinkler rough-ins have been installed.

Sleeping room furniture will be ordered this week.  The order includes 28 extra long twin bunk beds, 6 single beds, 3 lofted singled beds, 30 wardrobes, 30 dressers, 65 mattresses and 25 desks.  The items are built locally and will be delivered and installed in August.

Next week includes inspections of rough in electrical, mechanical and plumbing; insulating; and, starting drywall.

New windows on the east side of the building — next door to ATO.

West side of the house — new windows (and the old windows in the red dumpster).

South side of the building (like the bathroom?) — all of these windows will have to be fire-rated. On the left side of the photo — opening have been cut into the walls to accommodate new exit doors.

New windows in B2.  This will be one of the few three men rooms.

FIJI graffiti – it has been interesting what has been ‘found’ under the walls – including a “More PhiGam, Less Self” bronze plaque. This is in the area formerly known as B1.

2nd floor — will be room 200, looking south into the future room 201. 

New layout for the 2nd old bathroom — the metal walls will house individual shower stalls. The stools will be to the left.  This is taken standing on the south wall (where the sinks will be), looking north (the stairwell is behind the wall).

Standing in the educational area of the future room 300, looking north.

Laundry will move from the basement to 2nd and 3rd floors.  This is where the old sauna was located and will house a washer and dryer.

 The item that started this entire process — rough ins for the fire sprinkler (red pipe).  The Board of Regents has required all student housing (including greek housing) be sprinkled by 2017 — Phi Gamma Delta will be well ahead of the game on this issue.

Rough-ins starting

Mechanical rough-ins have started

Electrical and mechanical rough-ins started this week. The plan is to convert the existing boiler (installed in 1997) to hot water (currently hot water and steam) and install new air conditioning equipment. Each room will have their own heating and air conditioning units.

The exterior walls have been furred out to accommodate insulation. This will help with the overall efficiency of the building. There is currently no exterior insulation, other than air space. In addition, this will allow new wiring to be installed.

Asbestos removal continues in the basement.

New floor joists were installed in the bathrooms and the floor is down. Several of the existing floor joists had significant notches (up to ¾ the width of the joist) cut into them to accommodate different plumbing and remodels over the past 80 years. This was not safe to install the new bathroom without taking care of this structural issue.

Finally, a new subfloor was installed on the 4th floor. Several of the old floor boards were very thin or cracked. In addition, this separation was required for fire codes.

Next week, the windows for the old side should start to arrive and be installed. They are being replaced with a double pane insulated window.

The asbestos removal continues – this is the tent set up outside of B2.

Exterior walls are being furred out to accommodate insulation and provide a tight seal between levels.

2nd floor — north side — where the hallway continues to the new side. This will be the future site of a laundry room.

Taken in the new Room 200 — from the educational space looking into the two new sleeping rooms. 

The new 3rd Old bathroom — the floors have been replaced.  Plumbing should be installed in the next few weeks.

A new subfloor was installed on 4th floor. This is taken on the south wall — right next to the fire escape.

From the housemother's living room -- looking up into 2nd and 3rd old bathroom -- up to the roof.

If you walk into the chapter house today, the most striking thing you will find would be standing in the housemother’s living room and looking up and you can see the roof. The floors in 2nd and 3rd old bathrooms have been removed to accommodate a new bathroom layout – which will include private shower stalls and finally fix the flooding issue in the housemother’s room and B1.

At least twice a year, the housemother’s room would ‘flood,’ or more accurately ‘rain’ from the ceiling, which then would drain into B1 – often times damaging contents in both rooms. For the past several years, the flooding was due to pipes going bad inside the walls – both plumbing and heating systems. These are costly repairs, as the plumber would have to make a hole to fix the issue – often times several holes to find the issue – then the wall or ceiling would have to be repaired. Thankfully, ‘moms’ Engelhard and the residents in B1 have been good sports over the years.

The radiators have been removed and recycled – along with the old AC equipment in the basement under the kitchen. This is making room for a new heating and air conditioning system to be installed over the next several months.

The walls are framed on 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors.

Mechanical, electrical and fire sprinkler rough-ins are scheduled to begin this week.

From the 3rd old bathroom — looking into the housemother’s living room.

3rd floor — from Room 300 — looking to the south.

2nd floor — standing by the south wall (Room 203) looking to the north (200).

Basement ceiling is down.

The few items left from the old chiller equipment.

Metal studs rock

The rooms start to take shape. Taken from the southeast corner of 4South.

The rooms on the old side start to take shape as walls are being framed – 4th floor walls are up and 3rd floor is underway.  Metal studs are being used on the old side – a great fire safety improvement.  The new floor plan will be two or three smaller sleeping rooms off a central study room.

The boiler room saw some action with the removal of asbestos.  Thankfully, asbestos was only used on the joints and fittings of the 1964 heating system. The existing heating system is a combination of steam (for the old side) and hot water (for the new side). It will be converted to all hot water – which will allow for air condition to be installed throughout the entire house.  It will be a more efficient heating solution since we will no longer have to heat the water to the boiling point and will hopefully save on repairs (ask me about the $2,500 butterfly valve we had to replace a few years ago).

A little mechanical work happened early this fall when the bottom of the 1964 300-gallon hot water storage tank failed.  The house manager reported that a loud ‘hissing’ sound was coming from the boiler room and when they opened the door it was spraying water everywhere.  At the same time, our 1997 hot water heater went on the fritz (not surprising – it was nearing the end of its life). Thankfully, we were able to work with Tom Colvin, 1970, President of Colvin Engineering Associates in Salt Lake City to find a fantastic solution.  We now have a 100 gallon, 399,999 BTU hot water heater that can produce 514 gallons of hot water an hour – plus, it is 93% efficient!  Thank you Brother Colvin!

Oh, and 91 windows were ordered this week.

Standing in 4north, looking to 4south. 

3rd floor — standing by the south wall (room 302) looking to the north (room 300 – grey wall, 301 – red wall).  The new metal base plate shows the new layout.

Taken in the boiler room — the blue pipes used to be covered in asbestos.

OLD hot water heater and storage tank

The old hot water heater and storage tank — RIP (hot water heater 1997-2010; storage tank 1964-2010)

New hot water heater — no more storage tank! (Thank you again Brother Colvin)

Demolition is done

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor demolition is complete. All interior walls, including both bathrooms, were hauled down R Street this week. The living room ceiling was taken down to allow for the installation of new electrical, plumbing, HVAC and fire sprinklers. The interiors of rooms B1 and B2 are cleared as well.

Next week includes finalizing the permits and the framers plan to start putting up the new walls. We also have the joy of dealing with asbestos removal in preparation of the HVAC guys starting their work.

Livingroom, looking to the north.

Livingroom, looking to the south

2nd floor — Standing in room 200 — looking to room 202 (green wall)

2nd Old bathroom — yup, this is a big project.

Standing in room 202, looking into room 203 (blue wall)

 

3rd floor — standing in room 300, looking into 301 (red wall) and 302 (tan wall)

3rd Old bathroom

Standing in room 302, looking into room 303 (green wall)

Standing in room 4north, looking into room 4south

Standing in 4south, looking into 4north

Basement — you really can’t tell much down here — but the ceiling panels have been pulled down and carpet removed.

February 4 Groundbreaking

John Binning, Class of 1945 and Mike Nickischer, Class of 2014 share the honor of turning the soil with the spade used for the 1964 addition.

NOTE: This event already happened – but we just received the photos and wanted to share a few with you.

Lambda Nu Graduate and Undergraduate Brothers symbolically broke ground on Friday, February 4 officially starting the construction phase of the project.  Purple Legionnaire Adam Goll (Nebraska 2007) emceed the event which featured special welcomes from John Osterholm (Nebraska 1995), Dr. Joe Skradski (Nebraska 1983), William Grubb (Nebraska 2013) and John Gottschalk (Nebraska 1965).  Additional honored guests included John Binning (Nebraska 1945), N. W. ‘Jerry’ Solomon (Nebraska 1951), Governor Charles Thone (Nebraska 1944) and Linda Schwarzkopf, Director of Greek Affairs and Dr. Matthew Hecker, Dean of Students.

Brothers enjoyed a reception in the dining room then gathered in the living room for the ceremony. 

Be sure to check out the pre-renovation and event photos by click on “More Photos” on the right.  The House Corporation gives a special FIJI thank you to Sarah Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Photography for taking photos.

Governor Charles Thone, Class of 1944

 

Reception in the dining room.

 

Lambda Nu Graduate Brothers with 'moms' Engelhard

 

Lambda Nu undergraduate brothers

Demolition derby

In a matter of three days – a significant amount of the old side is all but a memory.  The crews have removed the majority of 2nd old and 3rd old.  The 4th floor is one large room and B1 and B2 are now stripped bare.  The girl’s restroom went out of service today as a door was put into the south wall for the housemother to access her bedroom. The housemother’s living room door is no longer able to be accessed as demo starts in the living room soon and the doors will be padlocked.

Today’s excitement was fire alarm havoc  – apparently construction dust and the old smoke detectors do not play well with each other. Thankfully the fire trucks were only out once for a false alarm before the construction crew and our alarm monitoring company caught on to the issue.  The nice part is that all the fire alarm equipment is scheduled to be updated to ensure the chapter house continues to be a safe environment for our undergraduate brothers.

Take from the 2nd floor door — looking towards what was 201 (tan wall) and 202 (green wall).

2nd floor — taken from the southeast corner (what was room 202). the green wall was in 200.

The most important bathroom fixture is left in 2nd old.  Looking from the door into the area where the stools used to be seated.

2nd old bathroom — looking into the shower area. The pile with the sink is in room 203.

Moving to 3rd floor — photo taken from room 300 looking south into room 301 (red wall) and 302 (tan wall).

Standing in room 301 looking into room 300 The hallway walls and celiling were made up of  plaster over expanded wire mesh.

 

4th floor — from the landing looking south into 4South.

Standing along the south wall in 4South — looking into 4north.

The basement room/diamond room. The carpet has been taken up and ceiling has come down. 

B1 living room — the ceiling is down exposing all the heating pipes and plumbing.  This room as been problematic for years – when a pipe would go bad upstairs, it would ultimately drain into this room – ruining quite a bit of property over the years. This will no longer be a bedroom after the project is complete.

The bedroom in B1. The ceiling has been removed.