The Expansion: Progress Update
Well, folks, construction has been underway for some time now! We’ve mentioned how excited we are a few times, right? We’re going to say it again today, and we will undoubtedly bring it up again a few times until the project of our new expansion is complete!
For so long, it felt like all you could see happening on the lot next door was digging, digging, digging. It seemed like they’d move some dirt around, and then they’d dig some more, and then they’d move some dirt around, and then they’d dig some more. I’m sure we all felt the same level of surprise when suddenly, the structure of a building sprang up in just a few short days!
What you may not know is that what we see on Lot 303 is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our expansion! There’s a lot going on that can’t be seen from the front of our current building – more construction taking place on the south side of the preschool, behind the clinic, and even underground!
If you’re not in the construction business (and we definitely aren’t!), it can be difficult to tell just how much is getting done. So we pulled together some information for you that can hopefully provide a little insight into just how far we’ve come since things really got rolling last October.
West Side: Lot 303
You may remember from previous posts that the addition on the west side of our property, the lot next door, is primarily going to be used to expand the available space for the High Hopes Pediatric Therapy Clinic. The cinder block infrastructure that now stands on that spot is complete, and the brick that will cover the façade has already been delivered.
Inside, the framing of the rooms on the first floor is about 90% done, with a plan to complete the framework for the entire first floor in the next two weeks. That means that the staff breakroom, the multi-purpose room, two adult restrooms, and a maintenance room will all be completely framed before the month of April is out.
And if you’ve been in the big training gym in the last week-and-a-half or so, you might have looked through the back windows into a new room that spans the length of the back wall. Roofed and almost fully enclosed, that space already contains the framework for more private treatment rooms!
Less evident progress on the west side of things are a couple of very essential steps that were recently completed. One necessary component of any major project like this, though it may not be pleasant to think about or seem like a very big deal, is to finish a sewer tie-in. We are happy to say that our sewer tie-in for Lot 303 is 100% complete. Hand-in-hand with that big step, the water line for our new addition has been totally excavated and installed.
In the next two weeks, even more progress is expected. Right now, plans for the next two weeks include completing the framing of the first floor, completing all structural steel installations, and laying slabs. It is also projected that our construction team will start hanging ductwork and roughing in the plumbing and electrical work for the west building.
As progress continues on the lot next door, you can be sure we’ll keep you updated! Two more adult restrooms, significant administrative space, and more planned for the second floor have yet to get underway. But when they do, you can bet we’ll be jumping up and down just like today when we share the news. The excitement never wears off, because every new piece of the puzzle makes our dreams feel that much closer to reality!
South Side: The School
If you’ve only seen our construction from the road or the front of our current facility, you may not even realize that there’s a second part to this process, the expansion of our High Hopes Inclusive Preschool. But some of the most exciting work that’s being done at the moment is taking place in our school expansion, and it’s all hidden behind the building where it’s hard to see!
You may remember from previous posts that we are adding four new classrooms in our south side addition. Those four classrooms are completely framed, as are the two student restrooms, two teacher offices, large pod area, and curriculum storage rooms that will support those classrooms and their staff. And that’s without mentioning the offices for our preschool director Melanie and assistant director Renee, which are also completely framed.
That’s just on the first floor. The framing for our second floor in that wing is also 100% finished. That means the framework for our teacher workroom, two adult restrooms, and some much-needed storage space is already in place!
At the beginning of the last week of March, our teachers and administrative staff took advantage of an opportunity to visit the new addition and see the progress for themselves. They also participated in the echo of an event that occurred when our current facility was first being built – they took permanent marker to the studs of the framework, writing dedications, blessings, and messages of high hopes into the walls of our new addition. In a little over a week of progress, those messages are already almost completely concealed.
But the framework is just the beginning of the progress that’s been made on the south side! The brick overlay of the building’s façade is already done, the hallway linking the current school and the addition is nearly complete (ramp and all!), and the entire wing has been roofed and shingled. It is becoming harder to tell where the current building ends and the new part begins!
And there’s more! The electrical wiring and plumbing lines in the walls of the south side addition are installed and ready to go. The stairwell and elevator shaft for that section can be clearly distinguished, and though they are not done just yet, those elements are ready for completion in the near future.
The HVAC units that will heat and cool our new wing are all now on-site, and the duct-work is at about 80% completion. There has even been significant installation of insulation, and about 75% of that process has already been brought to fruition.
Just like on the west side, the next two weeks promise even more exciting progress. It is projected that all insulation will be completed, the HVAC units and ductwork will be completed and installed above the ceiling, and drywall will go up and start getting primed for painting, all before the end of the month!
It’s All Coming Together
On both the south and west sides of construction, the next two weeks will bring more exciting behind-the-scenes work, because it’s about time to start thinking about integrating the old with the new.
In order to make our expansion a seamless piece of our current building, all the plumbing, electricity, and other systems must be connected. That process will begin shortly, and will be a continuing project as the expansion grows closer and closer to actualization.
And soon, we’ll have to start turning our attention inward. The current facility will undergo several renovations to upgrade our current space, and re-purpose it in the ways that are best for our organization.
This may result in a somewhat awkward transition time for us in July, when those projects are expected to begin, as some of our administrative staff may find themselves setting up camp in unusual spots to make room for these exciting changes! But more on that as it develops.
For now, we hope this little glimpse into the lumber and masonry of our growing expansion has been enlightening and inspiring! We are continually impatient to see what amazing things we can accomplish when our new space is complete and available.
Keep watching our progress! Soon it will be hard to remember what our facility was like before we began our journey of expansion. We’re just so glad you’re on this journey with us – we couldn’t do it without you!