Finished photos ©️ Inside the Eye Photography by Michael Finizia 

CWRU Thwing Hall Kitchen Exhaust

Location: 11111 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

Completed: October, 2019

Type: Restaurant/Food Service, Institutional



As part of a strong finish to 2019, we were awarded this competitively bid project on the Case campus.  Our successful experience with kitchens as well as our familiarity with the building were both factors in gaining award of the project, but low price sealed the deal.


The Jolly Scholar Restaurant had failed several health and fire inspections and as a result was suddenly compelled by the City of Cleveland to cease all cooking operations within the building in late spring of 2019.  Case hurriedly acquired a food truck to perform temporary cooking operations and hastily accelerated a slower moving plan to improve the cook line in the restaurant’s kitchen.


This project had extensive mechanical and electrical requirements including several major code issue corrections and complete replacement of the hoods, exhaust fans, and make-up air unit.  Tight access and poor soils required the use of drilled spring anchor foundations beneath the make-up air unit, a first for our firm.


Due to very limited space and a strong desire by the University not to modify the façade of this very old building, we ended up routing ductwork into a basement brewery area owned by the Jolly Scholar and then up and into the kitchen area.  Both the geometry and the routing were difficult and one interesting element of the work was a custom stainless-steel duct through a very thick masonry wall that acted as both a lintel for the opening and as a portion of the duct run in the transition from exterior to interior duct.


Overhead space or “air rights” were another problematic condition.  Because some of the equipment was in line, within the duct runs inside of the building, it was necessary to receive and install this equipment before much of the ductwork could be measured and fabricated.  Being welded grease exhaust duct necessitated this sequence and so much of the work had to wait until the hood was installed and the fans were hung.  Then all ductwork had to be installed from the top down because the lower layer trapped the upper layer of duct making it impossible to do any work on the upper layer without removing the lower layer. 


The same labor shortage impacting much of Cleveland in 2019 had an impact on this project in terms of sheet metal workers and electricians.  Still completed within the 3-month schedule window the project experienced lengthy delays in getting Cleveland Fire to inspect and pass the installation.  The system went into service in December, 2019 and has been operating ever since.

Millcreek Common Area Improvements

Location: 23000 Millcreek Blvd, Highland Hills, Ohio 44122

Completed: January 2020

Type: Office



In a tandem project with the Paychex Office Buildout, Lawler Construction teamed with RJD Construction on these two building upgrade projects in the old PNC data processing building.  The common area improvements included a new south entry, complete gut and remodel of the main public corridors and elevator lobbies on the main floor, upgrades to the existing common restrooms on the main floor, construction of new interior storefronts for planned and already signed tenants, a sales office and partial fit out of some common space for use in meetings and break areas. This project was completed in time to afford the new Paychex tenant to immediately utilize the new facilities when they occupied their new 2nd floor space in January of 2020.


With a partially occupied building, much of the work had to be phased.  An extremely long lead time on special oversized porcelain floor tile in the public areas pushed all of the flooring work to the very end of the project.  Beyond that scheduling issue the project was a smooth one with very few difficulties.

Paychex Office Buildout

Location: 23000 Millcreek Blvd, Highland Hills, Ohio 44122

Completed: January 2020

Type: Office


Bid, awarded, and started at the same time as the Millcreek Commons project, this portion of the work had to have the same completion time window in order to serve commitments made to the tenant by the building owner.  With limited demolition, the entire 2nd floor (about 37,000 sf) was gutted and refit for the new payroll processing tenant.  The building has raised access flooring throughout in order to facilitate the heavy utilization of computers and computer processing that has been conducted in the building since it was originally constructed.


The introduction of some structural improvements in order to support loads from new operable partitions along with the inclusion of a new independent backup generator system proved to be the most challenging aspects of the work. 


The progress of construction mirrored the planned schedule and all trades worked well together to bring a completed project on line.   Construction of new private offices, training areas, meeting areas, lobby, break room and select other spaces occurred predominantly in the core area of the building.  Perimeter areas were left as open office space with a few exceptions.  New in-line VAV boxes, all new ceilings, lighting, and flooring and all new finishes served to provide a crisp clean appearance to the space.  On schedule and in budget these new offices went into service in February, 2020

Gray’s Armory Elevator

Location: 1234 Bolivar Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44115

Completed: October, 2020

Type: Specialty/Elevator



With partial public funding, this project originally bid in spring of 2019 but was not awarded until the fall.  Consisting of a new three-stop elevator in a new shaft, with an option included to provide a stop at an intermediate level in the future if desired.  Work began in the fall of 2020 with demolition and investigatory work.  With a historic building and uncertain construction methods of the early builders it was necessary to open up each of the floors from top to bottom and gain a line of sight view and understanding of dimensions and distances.  Once determined we were able to layout and carefully remove framing and floor systems at each level to create the space needed to construct the shaft.


The lowest level of the facility houses an active gun range.   This range had to be both shut down and remediated for lead before work could begin. Not wanting to lose more revenue than necessary, the remediation work was performed just prior to the start of our construction.  The elevator shaft foundation was a poured in place concrete mat placed over existing basement buttress foundations.  At the same time as the foundations were laid we created a new pad and slab for the elevator equipment room.

Once the slab was in we began to take the masonry walls up from the basement level all the way up and through the roof. 


During all of the award and early construction period we worked to get elevator shop drawings prepared, submitted, and approved.  This was finally achieved late in 2019 and the elevator equipment was ordered in early 2020.  A 10-week equipment lead became a 16-week lead time due to the Coronavirus outbreak across the US and across the world.


By the time the elevator installation actually started in June, all of the related construction that could be completed had been done.  The elevator installers worked for a month in order to progress to a point where architectural work had to be done.  They then returned in September to complete the balance of their work. Due to the virus it was very difficult to get city inspectors out to the project but by late October most final inspections were complete.  By adding a limited fire alarm system to the elevator project, we were able to satisfy fire department concerns so that by the end of October we received all final approvals and an occupancy permit.  The elevator went into service in November but, due to the ongoing restrictions of Covid-19, the overall facility is still in shutdown (as of January 2021) awaiting a lifting of the stay at home orders.  Although a 6-month project grew to 12 months, ultimately all parties were satisfied and a new elevator will make the Cleveland Gray’s Armory facility better and safer for many years to come.