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Our Expansion and Renovation Update Blog

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Oct. 15, 2013

Here's What the Mayor Saw on his Hard-Hat Tour

On a day when Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim got a behind-the-scenes tour, there was plenty going on. Outside things are still a muddy mess, but inside we had drywall going up and cafe windows being framed and shown above, an opening being created so air ducts could extend into a new addition. If you'd been walking with the mayor, you'd have seen we have a really messy theatre lobby, thanks to electricians chasing circuits and parts being stored, and you might have noticed diagrams made on unusual surfaces. We've also have a hard-working insulation crew that on Tuesday, was finally working in an area with enough light for a photograph. In closing, shown below is a type of temporary air duct you see fairly routinely around here, but we finish with something rarely if ever seen—a scuba diver getting ready to go under an art museum that sits on dry land.

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Oct. 11, 2013

Upholding a Friday Tradition

Our weekly salute to all the people on this project ranges from the people who drew it to the people who do it, from the folks who taught us about VAV boxes to the guys erecting the elevator. We thank the team members who frame, who hang, who wrangle steel or manage this noisy, clanging herd. This week saw metal shavings flying in the Egyptian room and workers striking poses for the camera. All told, it felt like the project was picking up speed, and for that we say thanks.

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Oct. 9, 2013

Nor'easter Outside, Progress Inside

This was a day when crew members unaccustomed to tidal flooding fretted about their vehicles outside, while old hands assured them that minor street flooding is routine in large parts of Norfolk. With work on the outside stalled by rain and mud, inside work continued on the hydraulic piston, shown above, that's at the heart of our new elevator. There was a nifty riding floor sander at work in the new glass wings, and ceiling framers tackled some huge galleries upstairs. Our new cafe will seat 72 people inside and another two dozen outside, which explains the enormous size of the range hood shown below. All told, it felt like a very good day. In fact, it's always a good day when sparks are flying.

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Oct. 8, 2013

When it Comes to a Better View of our Sarcophagus, These Are the Guys to Thank

When we reopen next year, you'll be able to walk up a ramp and gaze down upon a magnificent 2,500 year old sarcophagus. Today, work on that raised floor began and shown above is the cutting of the steel supports. Working behind the caution tape, as one man cut, another assembled, and by the end of the first day, they'd made great progress. In that last picture, that's the sarcophagus in its protective casing on the left.

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Oct. 7, 2013

Getting the Week Off to a Rousing Start

In the Conservation Lab, shown above, Mark is working on repairs to a very old glass. We'll be touching base with all the art behind the scenes in more depth in an upcoming post.

Today we're talking about a normal day of getting back in the construction grind—sparks flying, laser levels levelling, the continued installation of the floor in the new glass wings. We saw big drills and even bigger drill bits. Outside, the highlight was the roof trusses on the north porch. Here's a peek at the perch; here's what was accomplished in a single afternoon.

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Oct. 4, 2013

When it Looks Like Even the Statues Need a Hard Hat

Shown above, an example of life in a construction zone, where even conservators have to don hard hats if they must transit construction to get to their work station. Elsewhere around the project:

• With the new shaft completed, the actual installation of the new elevator has begun. It will include some big hydraulics and a lot of wiring.

• Inside the new glass wing, taped inside the cases are drawings of what will be installed there.

• Outside, work continues on installing limestone trim, and for those keeping track of whether the jobsite is dominated by mud or dust, here's the other shoe dropping.

• To use a sportsman's term, if you called these guys duct hunters, then you could call these guys pointers.

• And finally, an update on construction worker grafitti. We called this one "Untitled No. 1, dust on plexiglass, 2013." When it came to this particular gag, well, we're happy to report it's a really short list.

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Oct. 2, 2013

Looking Like a Big Job on a Big Wall

Strolling through our construction zone, there are people seemingly everywhere this week. This is especially true if you walk  by and look at the two towers on our building. They are just jam-packed with air conditioning equipment, and as this picture and this picture shows, people are really busy getting things installed.

Elsewhere, newly installed steel means new fireproofing, so the crew taped plastic protection up all over and then the spraying began—even in tight corners. In gallery after gallery, studs are being covered in plywood and sheetrock, and sometimes that entails the use of both high-tech lasers and low-tech chalk lines. And if we've whetted your appetite for reopening, well, here's how our newly redesigned cafe looks today.

Shown at top, an example of the high standards involved in this job. This is the second time the underlayment has gone up on this wall; the first time the plywood was 1/16ths of an inch off spec. Shown below, the limestone crew has started trimming out the new north side porch. It's easier than it was on the south side; this time the roof trusses were not put in first.

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