Finished photos ©️ Inside the Eye Photography by Michael Finizia
American Endowment Foundation Office Expansion
Phase I & II
Location: 5700 Hudson Drive, Hudson, Ohio 44236
Completed: Phase I: November, 2019 – Phase II: June, 2020
Competitively bid via a local architect this interior office project involved demolishing and reconstructing existing space in a one-story office building in Hudson, Ohio. Planned to be completed in time for the annual year-end giving surge, the project bid in September. We were on the job in early October with the phase I work. This involved creating new offices for the CEO and his direct support personnel as well as other executives and one of the departments of the operation.
Special doors and frames proved the biggest hurdle on this project. We had to match existing door and frame appearance with several side lite frames and prefinished wood doors. The initial wait for the hollow metal frames prevented us from completing our drywall until late in the project. While allowing plenty of time to get all of the electrical, HVAC, and sprinkler rough work done, it did put a pinch on installation of ceilings and finishes. We were able to complete this phase on time and were ready for the owner’s separate furniture vendor to install on the planned date.
In spring of 2020 the owner decided to accept an alternate from the original project as well as some additional work scope to make a general office space more efficient. This work progressed over a two month period and was completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
Discount Drug Mart #61 Expansion and Remodel
Location: 107 S. Chestnut, Jefferson, Ohio 44047
Completed: June 2020
Type: Grocery, Retail
Another late 2019 bid project, this was our first major project for Discount Drug Mart in several years. The project involved a difficult sequence of partially overlapping work zones, new construction on the north and south sides of the building, internal renovations including relocation of the pharmacy operation from one end of the store to the other, and exterior sitework and building exterior improvements. The owner held separate contracts for refrigeration, paving, and exterior illuminated signage that was coordinated under our contract and through our overall project schedule.
Relocation of the customer pharmacy drive-through was the first step in the work process and a September bid resulted in a start of work in October.
Heinen’s #5 Produce and Customer Service Remodel
Location: 30849 Pinetree Road, Pepper Pike, Ohio 44124
Completed: August, 2020
Type: Grocery, Retail
After a several year hiatus in remodel of their stores, Heinen’s approached Lawler in late 2019 for a remodeling project to upgrade their produce and wellness departments as well as to relocate their customer service office from center store to a more traditional position at the checkout area.
A reasonably straightforward grocery remodel, the work had to progress at night due to several factors including the need for availability of all merchandised areas to the customer daily, the need to cover and protect grocery product and fixtures from some of the work, and the amount of overhead work that could not be performed with anyone below. Begun in February, the project ran smack into the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and had to be shut down in the middle of March at the same time that Ohio began to implement stringent control measures. The shutdown was more oriented toward protecting store associates and providing them with some needed breaks (there was a huge run on merchandise starting in late February and extending into April)
After about a two month layoff we returned to complete the project. Interior work was completed in May but an exterior sign had been added that was not able to be installed until August.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Rhinoceros Bull Barn and Exhibit
Location: 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, Ohio 44109
Completed: July, 2020
With limited project bidding opportunities in late 2019 we came across this unusual project in the public arena. As a component part of the Cleveland Metroparks System, the zoo project had a large group of internal personnel that had regular involvement in addition to the Metroparks personnel who oversaw the construction itself. The project was the second phase of a new Exhibit for the male or Bull Rhinoceros at the zoo. It is located in the longstanding spot where Monkey Island stood for over 60 years.
A site contractor had previously been engaged to perform demolition, excavation & grading and underground utilities. It was our work scope to construct structures, pavements, landscape, lighting, information technology, exhibit patron controls (fences, rails, barriers), and the animal control gating system. With some very unusual material requirements and coupled with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, sourcing some of the specialty lumber and timber proved a bit difficult. The animal control gating involved the installation of log post “chute” walls, revisions to existing post walls where the new and existing exhibit abut and the introduction of several custom designed pneumatically controlled sliding steel gates. With the knowledge that a 5,000 lb animal had to be kept both safe and contained, it was understood from the outset that the design-build gates could only be obtained from one or two vendors that specialize in these installations.
Several challenges arose throughout the project with the first being start of masonry. A special exposed block had been selected and pre-ordered by the zoo. As start of work approached in the end of December, only a partial order of the units arrived. With a finished exposed product, special installation measures had to be taken and maintenance of color uniformity in the exposed mortar was also paramount. A bout of cold weather also settled in and the decision to avoid using too many chemical additives to the mortar compelled the fitful progress of the masonry as weather allowed. It ended up being March of 2020 before the masonry was able to be completed thereby allowing installation of the roof trusses and roof system to proceed and get the building closed in.
The second challenge arose in sourcing the timbers and special wood materials needed for viewing rails, barn siding, and a timber shade structure to protect the Bull on the worst days of summer. Foundations were placed as soon as weather permitted but it was another six weeks of waiting until the logs were able to be cut and shipped from western Canada. Once onsite, the specialized tools and equipment needed were an interesting bit of work for a team of carpenters that were all approaching their first exposed timber construction effort.
Lastly was the control gate system. With minimal initial structural design, the gate fabricator and the structural engineer had to work closely together with the architect to adjust loads, clearances, and alignments so that the gates had adequate space to operate and were properly founded without disturbance to the new building nor to the existing exhibit walls. Because of the time frame, cost options and lead time for acquisition of components and materials, the design and installation of the foundations took place as a phased operation as each area came up. Most foundations were also integrally linked with the new timber chute walls and foundations for both had to be placed in very specific sequences and sometimes simultaneously.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on zoo operations afforded the project an additional (and badly needed) month extension to complete work. All trades continued to work cooperatively through the pandemic until this spectacular one-of-a-kind exhibit was completed and opened to the public in July, 2020.